Douglas Esposito joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco for his second appearance on The Knife Junkie Podcast (his first was in episode 25 if you want to go back and listen). Esposito is joined this time by his life and business partner Stacia Jennings.
Esposito is a former U.S. Marine who makes knives and teaches Jujitsu in his own martial arts studio in Manassas, Va.Douglas Esposito and Stacia Jennings join me for Episode 60 of The Knife Junkie Podcast to talk about Attn2Detail and Esposito's move into making folding knives, and soft goods with Stacia. Click To Tweet
They operate Attn2Detail Mercantile — check them out on Instagram and Facebook for more. Douglas handling the custom knife making and Stacia the soft goods. He has made a move into making folders and Bob wanted to talk to him about that business decision and the difference in making fixed blades and folding knives, as well as chatting with Stacia about the other products in the business that she handles.
If you remember, Bob’s very first custom fixed blade knife was a Douglas Esposito Attn2Detail Mercantile knife!
Please call the listener line at 724-466-4487 or email email@example.com with any comments, feedback or suggestions on the show, and let us know who you’d like to hear interviewed on an upcoming edition of The Knife Junkie Podcast.
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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 0:16
Hello fellow Knife Junkie and welcome to episode number 60 of the Knife Junkie podcast. I'm Jim Person.
Bob DeMarco 0:23
And I'm Bob DeMarco. Welcome to the podcast. Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast. It is the place for knife newbies like myself and Knife Junkie like you to learn about knives and knife collecting and hear from knife designers, makers, manufacturers reviewers and anyone who loves knives and is in the knife industry of business. We want to talk to them and bring those interviews to you and that's our weekly interview show here the Sunday weekend edition of the interview show and Bob great to be back and great to be on the heels of your inaugural Thursday night knives. Live YouTube show that one was such a blast, Jim, I had such a good time doing that for a number of reasons. A, you and I have been talking about this for a while and you had your game. So on point, you look like a full fledged TV technical director, producer, behind the scenes making the whole thing look great. We had Alex to so of Alex's nice box on and we had a structure of about five topics. And one main topic of conversation, we had a little debate at the end. We wrapped it up a nice little bow after almost an hour. And man it was great. I gotta say, and maybe I'm a little biased, but it was the best looking news pundit kind of show I've ever seen.
Jim Person 1:39
Well, that was our goal. We wanted to try to bring something new and different and not that we want to, you know, copy everybody or but nothing wrong with copying everybody but we just wanted to have a little something different. And hopefully, if you didn't catch it live, it's up on YouTube. You can catch the replay but we definitely want you to join us Thursday nights at 10pm for Thursday night knives and that's live with Bob and regular differing guest co host if you will, he said Alex room Alex is lifelock. So that was our inaugural guest this past Thursday. You were to come with us. Yeah,
Bob DeMarco 2:13
yeah. And a cool thing about this is that it formally technically it's got a it's got a format, but we want to keep changing guest hosts. Sometimes we'll have a number of guests host sometimes there might be no guest hosts. And there's there's a, we're kind of setting an arbitrary time limit of one hour soup to nuts, but it might go 20 minutes, sometimes it might go half hour, but we're going to try and keep it an hour or under and just have interesting topics of conversation.
Jim Person 2:42
Well hope you'll make your plans to join the Knife Junkie on Thursday night nine that's live on youtube at 10pm will have a reminder set up on YouTube so that you can not forget it and to be able to make sure you get those little reminders, you want to subscribe to the Knife Junkie YouTube channel and click the little bell notification so you'll be notified not only anytime Bob drops a new video but also whenever it goes live so you can go subscribe to the Knife Junkie YouTube channel by going to The Knife Junkie. com slash YT Subscribe that's The Knife Junkie. com slash YT. Subscribe. And Bob a repeat guests today on our interview show someone we had back on show number 25 Douglas Esposito from attention to detail mercantile.
Bob DeMarco 3:31
That's right, Douglas Esposito made my very first custom knife it's a fixed blade gentleman's fighter is gorgeous. I always talk about it. It's got a beautifully hollow ground double edged blade and and toward a shell handle. Anyway, I follow him pretty avidly on Instagram I love his work and had been observing his pivot into there's upon right there is a pivot into folder making and just having gotten my feet wet a little bit with radio fixed blade making I know how infinitely challenging it can be. And to see someone taking that leap into folder making and doing a beautiful job. I mean, this man is a marine he can he can follow orders that he lays out for himself, you know, so he's, he's got a disciplined approach and his knives show it and he's, I think he's about 30 folders in 25 folders in and each one man he's got he's got his own style and I just wanted to talk to them about what it's been like making that transition and not only do we speak to Douglas Esposito, but we speak to his business partner and partner in life, Stacy Jennings, she's also a former Marine and she does for attention to mercantile. She does their What do they call it, not software, the soft work soft goods, I guess, soft goods. Yeah, I think that's what they call it but she makes these really awesome Hanks and knife roles, so you can store your knives in a very classy, cool looking knife role or You can you can you can put one of their awesome hands in your back left pocket and and incidentally every day of my life I carry a handkerchief in my back right pocket or a bandana and having spoken to them now I gotta get one of these because really cool patterns and and beautiful built so anyway, Douglas then and Stacey talk to us at once and it was a it was a great interview. Really my my greatest interest was finding out what the challenges are taking that jump into something mechanical because the fixed blade is not necessarily mechanical. It is a simple machine. You know
Jim Person 5:36
what that interview is coming up next, but first want to remind you that our podcast today is brought to you by a new sponsor, Blue Host. If you're looking to get a website, you'll want to get hosting for that website and Blue Host is a good host. They have a neat little service called Blue Spark. It's free service for all new Blue Host customers leveraging WordPress. It's the Designed to jumpstart the build phase of your new WordPress website. Blue Host spark is powered by their team of WordPress experts specifically trying to assist with everything from getting started with WordPress to installing plugins to account access and navigation initial setup questions you might have Blue Host with their blue spark service. So our podcast today again brought to you by Blue Host if you're looking to get a website if you're in the market for website hosting, go to The Knife Junkie comm slash Blue The Knife Junkie comm slash blue that's BLUE, The Knife Junkie. com slash blue and thanks to Blue Host for sponsoring this podcast.
You know you're a Knife Junkie if you answer to the nickname blade
Bob DeMarco 6:47
I'm here with Douglas Esposito and Stacy Jennings of attention to detail mercantile they are partners in business and in life, and they've been putting out some amazing work, guys. Welcome to the show.
Douglas Esposito 7:01
Thanks, Bob. Appreciate it.
Bob DeMarco 7:02
Oh, yeah, well, okay, so just to remind everybody, Douglas made my very first custom knife, and it's a beautiful I call it a gentleman's I think you call it this too. It's a gentleman's fighter. It's a it's a double edged, drop point. Almost dagger, beautiful looking thing with an amazing tortoise shell handle. And just yesterday, I was looking at your Instagram and you posted the perfect companion knife. It's actually a bogey. It's a mini Bowie with a mirror polished blade which is absolutely beautiful, which I think is the perfect contrast.
Douglas Esposito 7:44
Just finished to the black end. Black on Black. Yeah, exactly.
Bob DeMarco 7:47
And it also has that gorgeous tortoise shell anyway, if that disappears from the website, you'll know where it went.
Douglas Esposito 7:58
Not that we got a lot of not that we got a lot tree huggers listening. But just for the record, it is a foe tortoise shell. It's not real tortoise shocks. I'm pretty sure that's illegal in like 70% of the world. Yeah. And
Bob DeMarco 8:10
actually, I think it has a weird warping issues. I think people have veered away from it. So you know, I call this Italian tortoise shell. I'm sure it isn't, but it just sounds gorgeous. Yeah, I like it. So Douglas, one one can't help but notice when I see your Instagram, you're very active on Instagram. And I have noticed that you have embarked on this path to folders. explain the origin of that
Unknown Speaker 8:41
decision? Well, I it was from the beginning, it was something that was on the, on the timeline. You know, last time we talked, there's, you know, there's the artistic, there's the mechanical, the material sciences, all these different aspects of this answer. On the business arc, and as somebody that's carried a folder for, I don't know, 90% of their life that was certainly on the, the horizon for what I wanted to do as far as creatively and and business wise as well because obviously, you know, I'm sure there's, I don't know 100 times more people that carry a folder than carry a fixed blade just from logistics and legally and all that kind of stuff. So, definitely want to get into into that.
Bob DeMarco 9:31
What do you look for in a folder that you might have yourself? You know, you said 90% of your life and carried one, what do you look for?
Douglas Esposito 9:38
So, ergonomics is number one, right? Be able to cut whatever you want without cutting yourself.
Unknown Speaker 9:46
Yeah, to the maximum amount of damage to your opponent and achieve the minimal amount of damage to yourself in everything that you do, you know? So that that's, that's where I started with everything. I really did it with People hold both my fixed blades in now the folders and say, and this fits really good in the hand and I could say yeah, turn it around, do a reverse grip, like oh, yeah, that's that's really, because that's really where I started was with the ergonomics of it.
Bob DeMarco 10:13
Well, they have your fixed blades and your folders have different a different vibe to them. Kind of a different aesthetic seems like the fixed blades have speak in one language and the folders speaking, I don't want to say an advanced language because that puts one above the other. But it speaks in a different language. Can you describe that?
Unknown Speaker 10:39
Well, so there's so nice have been made since the beginning of time. Right. So if I had to compare, man, I don't know. I may be reaching here but I don't know. Are you a fan of whiskey at all? Yes, I am urban. How about Japanese whiskey haven't hadn't. Okay, well. So there's two major decision salaries in Japan. And there, it seems to me and I've talked to people, I haven't talked to anybody at those distilleries. But this has come up time and time again. And there's there's one distillery that is really focused on elevating what is already known. And just taking that, you know, tried and true and trying to take that just 1% better. And then there's another distillery that's kind of focused on we're going to throw stuff to the wall and see what sticks. And I wouldn't say that my folders I wouldn't say that my folder I mean, if you notice with the with the fixed blades, its fighters Toronto's Bowie's, like what are the most common and tried and true designs in a blade and there's, there's a lot that has to do with understanding your history knowing where you come from appreciating the form and function that has served everybody for hundreds are thousands of years and spending time on that and developing that. And then but whereas the folder, especially, you know, the, the lock frame design is a fairly new thing you know, with Michael Walker and, and people on and on threes i mean you know Bob Zola, you know, there's there's all that but it's a relatively new thing so I think there's there's more room to not be so derivative and to try to do something and that's that's what I struck out to do there was things I wanted to bring over from the fixed blades and there were things that I did with the fixed blades specifically because I wanted it to transfer when I started doing folders. You know the the part of the reason I started crowning the handle and the blade and all that kind of stuff to begin with is because I like a flat profile. I like a close carry. I like to be the leader conceal carry or not having it broke out into this and that and everything at but I also knew that that was kind of the aesthetic that I wanted with a folder. So with the folders, I carried that over I designed the backspace or in the sides and the screws spacing and all those things so that I could carry that, that crown or that, that champ ring or whatever, whatever you want to call it on the handle and carried over to the blade. So there there are things that have carried over from the both functionally and aesthetically from the fixed blades to the folders. But I also felt like I had a lot more room to kind of figure out my own thing and come up with something that was recognizable as as something that I was doing as opposed to other people.
Bob DeMarco 13:50
You know, you mentioned that the crowning and I was, I find that the crowning of the spine of a blade to be very gratifying just it just feels Good, right? And it looks good. A lot of the Italian knife companies do that. The knife you made for me is his crown and actually the tanks, it's proud of the handle material. And that's another thing that I just love aesthetically. But I always found it funny to crown the spine of a blade, which of course, you know, oftentimes you'll put your thumb on, but then to leave the rest of the handle all squared off. And you've basically addressed that and how you're approaching your handles.
Unknown Speaker 14:29
Yeah, it's limited me a little bit as I can just throw stuff together and put Backspace on it. But that's really kind of the, the, the, the fit and a form in the field that that that I like and I want to carry over I think it you know, even even the pocket clip the way that I designed it and brought it into it. It all fits together. It makes it so that it rides not stealthily but it rides low in the pocket, but where you can still get to it. If you know what you're looking at its record ignitable, but it's not like, Ah, you know, skulls and wings and a dragon face and nothing I like I love skulls, I got tattoos of skulls on my leg, you know, I'm not taking anything away from that. But I want it you know, again, our one of the first sentences that we put together describe what we're doing is hard use gentleman's blades, you know, like I needed to still be able to function, but I'm not in the military active duty anymore. So I like a little style, a little bit of form to go with my function at this point.
Bob DeMarco 15:31
I like the I like the juxtaposition of gentleman's knife. Tactical, you know, obviously, that's what really drew me to these. But carrying that over into your folders, I think is a is a smart move. Stacey, from your perspective, what has this process been like this transition from fixed blade only into both?
Stacia Jennings 15:53
Well, for me, it's been seamless because it's all been a mess.
When I go into the shop, I'm like, oh, Oh my goodness. But I will say for Doug, he has a process. He knows his process. And God forbid you mess with that process. But, you know, as far as I'm concerned, it's been seamless for him. There's been a couple of sleepless nights a couple of months I did this, what if I did that? What if it? What if I change this move this so he's very much about the process and what he's not actually doing the process. He's still thinking.
Bob DeMarco 16:30
Yeah, before we started rolling, we were talking about how you're both former Marines and, and how, well a lot of people have spoken with who make knives are former Marines. And I was, I was positing that part of that is discipline, you need a lot of discipline to stick with something difficult, which knife making is one of those things, but also the problem solving framework, you sort of pick up in the armed forces and I know for sure, definitely in the Marine Corps. Also could definitely add a lot to just that process of tackling something difficult. What's your role in in attention to detail mercantile?
Stacia Jennings 17:09
Well so I'm the soft side even though I was a marine and hard as nails
Bob DeMarco 17:17
I saw that post
Unknown Speaker 17:20
so I do all the handkerchief is the night rolls the bags for the folders. But you know, I also hold down the house. So when Doug come home, he doesn't have to worry about the dishes or dinner or the dollar. He just component and can can relax if he can if he can get the knives out of his head for five minutes.
Bob DeMarco 17:39
If people don't remember this. Douglas also owns a very successful and quite awesome because I visited at once Brazilian jujitsu and muy Thai gym. You do me time?
Douglas Esposito 17:51
Yeah. Yeah, we got we got CrossFit there as well.
Bob DeMarco 17:54
It's an incredible space in Manassas, Virginia. Are you also a jujitsu practice and Enough.
Stacia Jennings 18:01
I find it best for our relationship to leave the gym I separate.
Douglas Esposito 18:06
I'm the only sweaty guy she gets to roll around on the floor with Yeah.
Bob DeMarco 18:11
That's that's how you should.
So do you also carry knives? Stacy, are you interested in the process of making them with you? Are you a part of that process
of making them
Stacia Jennings 18:26
so it will do carry on carry on it Douglas is not I do not but that is because he is making me my own custom knife that has to do with one of my own passions in life and that is Christian Louboutin shoes.
Unknown Speaker 18:41
He is making me a black on red folder for me to take I'm going on deployed to Iraq to Baghdad in January. Oh, so he's he's making me a knife to take with me.
Douglas Esposito 18:51
Yeah, she's still she's still active duty. She's an army officer. And so she's deploying. Yeah.
Bob DeMarco 18:58
Wow. Well, let me take this opportunity to thank both of you for voluntarily taking on the responsibility of defending our country and my family is greatly appreciated on my hear that you're going back. That's means even more. So, what knife Are you you're bringing that knife with you yeah, into.
Stacia Jennings 19:21
Okay, so it will be one of the folders
and one of the one of the medium folders, it'll just be okay. Black on
Black and then the liner will be red.
Bob DeMarco 19:31
All right, we've talked about these folders now. describe them, tell me all about them. I saw a recent Instagram posting where you said you were experimenting with ceramic ball bearings on the pivot. Tell me how these things are built, what what their makeup is and how you want them to perform?
Douglas Esposito 19:50
Well. I'm a big to hand safe open blade away.
Unknown Speaker 19:57
Coming from a shooting that Background In a technical background, you don't you don't whip your pistol out to the side and then whip it out in front of you and you know it comes straight up the center and from the from the second it's out of the out of the holster, you can shoot and it's center chest and straight and you press straight out, you know, and the knife is is an extension of that, you know, everything that you do is an extension of the of the of the open hand and, or closed fist depending on what you're doing. So I've got a real good friend Steve Ronnie, who's a edged weapons expert around bit guy, gunsight instructor. He's very well known in the tactical realm, and I've helped him with a number of courses and you know, we put guys on the shot clock on the shot timer, and, you know, whether it's a flipper or they're flipping it out to the side or all that kind of stuff and, like I get it, it's fun to play with if it's like a fidget thing, but if you're Interested in true tactical deployment, drawing it straight up the center and opening it with two hands, having the blade between you and your, you know, whatever's bad going on the other side is the most tactically and technically sound. So all of my stuff you can open one handed but if you're doing it in a rush, no matter what kind of knife you have, if you're in a hurry, it needs to be center line with the blade open between you like everything is on for you is on this side of the blade and everything for the bad guys on that side of the blade. And when we run classes, and we do this stuff will put people on the shot clock, and Nobody beats you know, you don't beat it. And here's, here's what happens under stress. And there's, there's multiple, there's videos of this and there's accounts of it and when people try to flip something out of their pocket, and they're under stress, it goes fly. So now you've just you pulled out this blade and you go to swing it out or flip it out and It goes flying across the concrete and you're looking at whatever's going on. And it's not good so that if you just practice a little bit, you can be faster than anybody flipping something out to the side if you just come straight up the center and open it with two hands and you've got it between you and the enemy. So I know I just went off on a rant there for a minute but no, that's not a rant actually, it brings two things to mind. First, I'd love for you to tell me how your experience as a close combat instructor trainer plays into the design of these flippers and I think I think you just fine art flip touch them and that's where them start. Yeah, that's where we came from. So all of my initial designs are with mylar or I could do phosphor bronze washers. I use the mylar because I can do whatever size I want. And then once I dial it down and I've had several 2025 30 year plus Knife making veterans go Yeah, the mylar is great. You can do this. And you can do that and it doesn't wear out and you know, it works really well.
Bob DeMarco 23:07
My fingers, I'll have my alarm. There you go exactly so
Unknown Speaker 23:12
and it gives you a very stable blade because you've got the most contact you can have. Now, a lot of people like bearings, I think they like a more for the flippers, but I was like, I'll try out the bearings, my buddy, my buddy Steve Kelley from tie connector and make some and you know, it's a technical challenge. So if you come to me and you say, Hey, I got a technical challenge. I'm going to be like, oh really well Challenge accepted, right. So I wanted to try it out and see what it does. And so I've got, I don't know, I think I think I have nine mediums with the the ball bear the ceramic ball bearings. So I'm going to give them a try, see how they are kind of test them out against the mylar, see if I like it, I have a feeling that I'll just continue on with the mylar and then if I do do a flipper at some point, maybe go to the ball bearings, but I wanted to have the experience of, you know, there's the technical thing of like, Okay, how much you know, how much relief do you need? like where do you take it out of the steel to take it out of titanium? You've already got accountable for the pivot you know, it's all just it's just technical engineering stuff, you know? So there's no real there's no real technical or there's a real no real tactical reason for doing it. I just there's people that are interested in and they they like bearings on their knives and I was like, well I'll give it a try you know I'm not gonna I'm not going to Pooh Pooh it before I give it a try.
Bob DeMarco 24:36
This makes me think there's obviously you have an obvious appreciation for and you have a creative I and and i for beauty, and that's very apparent in the designer knives. And I forgive you, but we'll play sir. was carrying a sink of itch designed zero tolerance today. One My favorite knives, the 0452 sia. And it is slipper only. And that's the one thing about that. And I mean, it makes it look beautiful when it's closed and it's beautiful when it's open. But the flipper only concept and the fact that it's a small flipper on the end of a large blade. It always makes me feel like yeah, in a pinch, this could be an issue. You know, if I want to just open it up to impress my friends and the cut my sandwich at work, like it's all good. But if I really did have to pull it out in a rush, I wonder how many times my my finger would slip off of that little flipper, which is little for aesthetics. So I asked you does does what you were talking about, in your idea of opening with two hands center, gross motor skills, man. Yeah, so does that preclude the use of a flipper? Are you are you just not gonna know?
Unknown Speaker 25:54
I don't know. I know. I'm not going to convince everybody. Like I said. So. We talked about explains, there's a certain amount of, you have to have an appreciation of what's gone before. And you have to, I feel like you need to do your due diligence. And, and work through that. And I'm sure there's dudes out there that have gone straight to make and flippers that have even mixed mess with explaining that. So I'm not taking away anybody else's path. But for me, being, you know, having a sense of history and understanding what comes before you, both in martial arts, and in the Marine Corps, and in physics and metallurgy and all that, like, if you don't understand what's come before you, then you're going to make you're going to make a bunch of mistakes. And, you know, we stand on the shoulders of giants, right? You Have you heard that before. Yes. So, like, I don't ever want to disregard that. And I Wanna you know, the reason things keep speeding up and we keep getting better at stuff faster and faster is because we stand on the shoulders of giants. So I don't, I definitely want to pay homage you credit, whatever it is and also kind of have my own my own process and and have an appreciation of those steps, you know what I mean? Like, like to just, you know just jump to nano pivot, you know, nano ml one killer and pivots and, you know, like, I'm not that smart, you know, so let me No one needs that. I don't even know what it is made it? Sure. No.
Unknown Speaker 27:40
You know, I just I also like, it's not just about, like, I want to make a good knife. I want to make a good tool, but it's also about my journey, right? It's about it's about my path. And like I said, coming from martial arts, right coming from the Marine Corps, like every private knows who the father of Marine Corps aviation is every Private knows who won two Medals of Honor, you know, like us any marine anywhere, and they can and they know this history, they know they have that, you know. So that's kind of where I'm at on this same thing with physics, you can't just jump into statistical mechanics and all this other stuff like you have to understand arithmetic before you can go into algebra and algebra before you can go into, you know, differential equations diff EQ before you go into other stuff. So, to me, it's just part of my process of moving through this and you know, if I decide that for whatever reason I want to do flippers, I'll clue you in on a little hint. There's, there's room for that in my designs, you know, like,
Bob DeMarco 28:43
yeah, I can, actually,
Unknown Speaker 28:45
but at the same time, if I want a nice stable, big, fat, mylar washer to give as much surface contact as possible, and I decided that that's the that's the thing that I want. It's still totally valid. I
Bob DeMarco 28:59
think You staying with and and really, you know, perfecting a knife on washers. That is not a flipper is a good move. Because I sense a backlash in the industry brewing. Because, you know, people tend to think when the latest and greatest thing comes out the smoothest pivot ever comes out. There's this initial thought like, oh, everything that came before this is garbage, you know, now Now I can drop shut my knife, you know, and I have to worry about a guillotine in my thumb like now I have that great problem. And, you know, people tend to throw things away hastily and then and then it starts creeping back. Well, yeah, but there is something so gratifying about opening this events this slow rolling it out knowing knowing it's locked open and, and and, you know, also not drawing attention to yourself and I think, I think right now you're working on the mark one, right that's that's what a medium and large Yo, the medium and the large so I think I think having the mark one via washer, some open knife is refreshing sounds a little a little cheesy but it's I love it and I think there's a trend happening more in that direction
Unknown Speaker 30:17
well I'm glad to hear that because I'm not in touch with that at all I'm not gonna lie spend so much time in the shop I'm you know, I'm I'm glad to hear that from people like yourself that are more in touch with the trends and what's happening and one of the one of the guys I've got work with me 17 years old, he's my buddy, he's a Marine, Marine Corps buddy of mine his son so he's been making knives since he was just a little kid. His name's Noah. And I get so much from him because he's so he's so in touch with Hey, this is the newest latest and this is the latest greatest and this is on this is all over IG and he's always coming in to show me like, hey, coach, let me show you what I got and done it. Right his his uh, his father owns a jujitsu school in We're in the same affiliation so he calls me coach because you know, when it comes down and train with me and stuff, but uh, it's, it's really good to have people that are in touch with that, because I'm just not right. And I feel sometimes I feel bad because I'm not. But it's hard to stay in touch with that all and spend 1618 hours a day working on stuff, you know, it's just it's stuff.
Bob DeMarco 31:23
So speaking of tough words, what are the challenges of making a folder over a fixed blade? And do you have I know you have a lot of friends in the industry but have you had someone kind of show you the ropes at all?
Unknown Speaker 31:35
So it used to be the barrier to entry was knowledge now now that's not the case. Because with YouTube and everything else out there, you got all sorts of people showing three different ways to do every step of doing anything. That being said, being able to go and spend time and guys shops whether it's a day or two days or a week, and seeing how they approach things and and why they approach things the way they do Is she Usually beneficial, because I may not make the same decisions, right? But I understand why they made the decisions that they made, you know, and because I can say, hey, why did you do that? And they'll be like, well, because of this, this and this, I'm like, well, I've got different reasons. And what's even more gratifying is to have those same guys go, man, you could have done a little of this little that you could have, you could have basically done a clone off of any of us, nobody would have had a problem. But this is different enough and recognizable enough and unique enough that you're, you're doing your own thing, which is cool. And I like that that's like it's a it's a framework. There's only so many things you can do with a frame long but just just the design like to start with how's it feeling here and and go from there and then but even with that, like my blade, my blade profiles and my blade grinds are, you know, still going back to well, you gotta leave shape way you got spearpoint blade, you've got a Tonto I haven't done a drop point yet, but I've been kind of trying to figure out how to do that with the and still work with the same ergonomics. And if it doesn't, if it doesn't, then maybe that's a folder to do down the road. But yeah, like there's or the compound grind or, you know, like, there's so many things you can do within the same framework, but it's, you know, at this point, they're all they're all classics. They're all established, you know, the Vanek grind. Not a lot, not a ton of people who've been at grains rise on folders, but enough people do. I didn't invent it. But people when they see it, they're like, Ah, that's kind of cool, you know?
Bob DeMarco 33:40
Yeah, very appealing. the only the only thing that grind that comes to mind is on an ultra tech and on a mark mark one. Every time every time I thought, wow, I figured this out. This is really cool. Within like a couple days, I see something on Instagram or one of my buddies and they're like, I'm like, oh, he figured this out. 17 years. years ago, and then I'll call them or text him and be like, Hey, man, good job. Like I'm, I figured this out, but only 17 years after you did. Let me ask you an opinion question. There's an idea that I did not make up but now I can't remember where I heard it, where someone was philosophizing about framework holders, and that the recent addition of or the recent like you pick witty of the steel lock bar insert to interface with the blade Tang is actually allowing the manufacturer the maker to introduce a little bit of slop into the process or a little bit less precision. Do you use a stainless steel lock bar insert and what do you think about that idea of that allowing for a little bit more impersonal?
Unknown Speaker 34:54
I don't. Um, so I've carried I have knives that I've carried for 1520 years that have been like not daily carry for 15 or 20 years but four years at a time deployed field all that kind of stuff and they still walk a fine and they were you know titanium frame and a steel hardened steel blade and maybe compromised or not. I think the argument can be made for for conversation of the lock or the lock bar face. It certainly helps lock stick right it helps beat the lock stick if it doesn't, if it does nothing else, it definitely helps with with the with the sticky locks, and then gives you a but I've never had one give out and I've carried knives a lot. I don't fidget with knives. It's not something that I just sit there. You know, if I have a new if I have a new grind or if I'm working on a new profile, I might hold it and watch a TV show and kind of feel hot feels in my hands and see if there's any hot spots or whatever. But I don't I don't sit in flips. Something 100 times just sitting there not doing anything, but I've never had a knife that that I've had to sharpen 1015 times because I've used it so much. I've never had the lock veil. And and I don't, I don't have any knives that I've used for any amount of time with the stainless steel insert. So I can see where Yeah, you can. By having that adjustment you can get away with a with a little bit but, man, if you have everything dialed in, and you know what you're doing it like I hang right on my lock faces. And that's actually probably less that's probably more because my fixed ring skills suck and I don't feel confident Brian and lock face with a with a mill, you know, but that's really the smarter way to do it, building a fixture and building that angle in and doing it and there's so many knife makers that are amazing that do that. And I'm just like right now my The biggest thing I'm working on is my fiction skills because the skills are beat, but it's something I'm trying to get better at. And then you know, who knows if I get better, if it's more repeatable, and it makes more sense, then I'll probably go to that. But I just I haven't worn out any titanium frame frame locks. And I haven't carried any with the stainless steel inserts enough to be like, have a real strong opinion on it.
Bob DeMarco 37:28
So you're talking about fixtures is that referring to setting up method so that a method or a model so that each time everything is holding, its holding the piece
Unknown Speaker 37:41
so that when you when you use the mill or the grinder or whatever you're doing, whether it's a fixture jig, so that it's it's the same every time? Okay.
Bob DeMarco 37:52
I wanted to ask Stacey, from your perspective, I've noticed you know, I've seen that you both you both go to knife shows together. And so what is your impression of the knife industry? The knife world, the people, Douglas, his peers in the night?
it better be that they're all
Stacia Jennings 38:15
they are all fantastic. I
love them all in their own special ways, right? Very.
Yeah. I don't know that I feel comfortable.
Bob DeMarco 38:25
Well, I mean, just in life community in general, I'm actually not asking about anyone in particular, but you know, nice buyers, nice enthusiastic knife makers. Do you sense a sense of community there? Or is that just something that gets blown up by people like me? Who, who just feel that knife nerds night?
Unknown Speaker 38:44
Well, so um, I have a little bit of a skewed perspective because the first knife show I ever went to was blade show, which is the largest knife show in the world, not just the United States, the world. And so you know, we We're It was so big the year we went two years ago right? They was the first time they opened a second room. So we were in the second room. And there were so many people there and and people literally spent the whole entire time they started on day one, like, you know, they were the first in line and they started on day one and they went to every single table. They spent the whole entire blade show and made sure they run their way through every table. So you know, they're I feel like they're serious. They really like the craftsmanship they like they really liked talking to us. You know, there were some people that spent an hour an hour in our booth talking to us about materials and craftsmanship and, and our background and you know, their background. So yeah, it was it was interesting. Some of the other shows were were smaller obviously than than blade show but but not any less important for the people who went to the show, to talk to the makers and talk about craftsmanship and
Stacia Jennings 40:07
what we're working on.
Bob DeMarco 40:08
Well, it's it's a real thrill to actually get to speak to you know, when you're an enthusiast with anything, I guess it's like that. But I mean, for me with this podcast, it's a real thrill to meet people whose work I admire and to find out, you know, the personalities behind them. So I think, I think it's, it's extremely cool of you to be open about that. And, you know, allow people to come bend your ear, because they're enthusiasts, it's like talking to their favorite baseball player or Well, it's, it's also very interesting. We've had some very interesting stories that people have told us. We had a guy who was was riding his motorcycle through Pennsylvania or was driving through Pennsylvania, he met a guy who was riding his motorcycle in Pennsylvania, who had bought one of our knives online and was like, oh, man, you gotta check out this hive. So the guy who was driving Hit us up on the website and said, Hey, I met a guy who has your life and I gotta I have to know about your life. And then Doug was at the California
Unknown Speaker 41:09
it's even more interesting because the the dude that had our knife was from England, but he lived in California, and he was doing a US tour of the US, you know, through the through the states, but it was centered around knife show. So we had it all set up so he could ride his bike around and this was the guy that hit us up was like, Hey, I met this guy. The knife was awesome. I need to get one Baba ba. That was probably what, six months ago? Yeah. So I just got back from the California custom knife show. And that cat was there. There's picture of me and him. The guy on the bike was there and he came up and he was like, Oh my gosh, you're the dude that met Brad, you know, and he was like, Oh my gosh, you know, I was like, Can we get a picture? He's like, Oh, I feel like a rock star. I'm like, you kinda are man. You know you're out there representing the brand It's awesome. So he's actually on the on the Instagram you can see a picture of me and him the guy here in the hat and all that. Yeah,
Bob DeMarco 42:08
yeah. So um how was your experience at the California custom knife show?
Unknown Speaker 42:13
Good It was really good. They all the the Recon one folks did a really good job at I'm not a paid in Dorsey. But they did a really good job and getting a lot of new people there. I had a bunch of people come up and they're like, Hey, this is my first show, or their friends were bringing them up. So they definitely got the word out. And we got out in front of a lot of new people. And, and we had people that knew who we were that bought pieces and people that didn't know like that's, it's it's always humbling and cool to have somebody come up and pay your money for your heart or you know, your hard work and creating creating something. But when they've never even heard of you, and they come in and they see it, and they're like I need that. That is super cool. Please take my money. That's, that's it's not about the money. It's just validation at that point, right. So it's cool to get that that like, I think it's cool. And it's awesome that somebody else a complete stranger that knows nothing about us comes up and digs at the at the other end of that, like when you came up to the shop and came up to get your I love that too. I've done that I basically kind of opened that up to people when they contact me if they're in the area. I'm like, hey, if you want come by the shop and you know, it's it's kind of a Dark Pit right now and it's unorganized. But I'll show you around and i'll i'll show you the bargain bin and you know, we can go from there. So maybe you
Bob DeMarco 43:37
didn't show me the bargain bin. I want to send a bargain.
Douglas Esposito 43:40
All right, well, next time you come up, you get first crack at it.
Bob DeMarco 43:43
Well, that's I mean that for my first customer. Now I have to my second one. I got a Greg Lightfoot recently.
Douglas Esposito 43:49
Oh, very cool, really awesome.
Bob DeMarco 43:51
But the experience of going to your shop and getting the knife from you and then I asked you to put the secondary edge on that and you said Are you absolutely sure? And I said I am absolutely sure. Well, I don't know what you're talking about. Yeah.
yeah, I mean, that to me was really rounded out the experience and to meet you in person having spoken to you already. Stacy, your nice roles. Tell me about them. I think I might need one.
Unknown Speaker 44:23
Yeah, so I started off with a handkerchief. You know, because Doug is a lovely boyfriend. He wanted me to be involved in the business. No, no,
Unknown Speaker 44:33
I hate to interrupt, but I legitimately was like, all right, look, soft goods is a good thing. I dig the handkerchiefs is cool. Show me how to show so me how to show me how to sew. And I'm gonna make some of these just so I don't just just have knives at the table. Because, you know, it's like, it's good to have multiple from a business perspective and blah, blah, blah. So she's like, you're not going to do
Douglas Esposito 44:56
like, you're not gonna do that. Like, yeah, yeah, totally. Well, she's like, why not? Just take care of that shut up and go make knives. So that's kind of where that that that came from.
Unknown Speaker 45:04
Right? So so that's where it started. And then we were at a show and I was like, you know, I feel like we could make this dual purpose. It wouldn't take any more steps for us to put some pockets in this and then make it a knife roll for holders. And so that's what we did. And we, the ones that we have right now are based on the Japanese like, work towel, because it's sort of that hard use, but it's very beautiful. So it's still that hard us gentlemen style type thing.
Bob DeMarco 45:32
describe that. I'm sorry, what do you mean? I'll work Japanese work, Helen. So it's called
Unknown Speaker 45:36
a 10 way. So the Japanese use towels working just to wipe their sweat to wipe their nose to like, you know, it's like they're multi. It's a bandana.
Unknown Speaker 45:49
It's a cross between a bandana handkerchief with a little more absorbent See?
Unknown Speaker 45:55
But it's also a said aesthetically pleasing. So it goes you know with dogs, we want It to be hard us but we also wanted to be aesthetically pleasing so that's what we started with. We're going to be moving into so called
Douglas Esposito 46:10
i don't know i think i don't think i've heard about this development
Stacia Jennings 46:14
plaids and such
Bob DeMarco 46:17
on he didn't run the plan by me.
Douglas Esposito 46:19
She did she did but but I thought it was a school girl
Bob DeMarco 46:26
so how many how many knives to these hold?
Stacia Jennings 46:30
Right now we do a seven pocket knife roll. We can make them in any any number.
Douglas Esposito 46:36
Because she was like, Well what if somebody's got like nine knives? I'm like, well then they need to buy two of them.
Bob DeMarco 46:41
And if you only got five well sounds like you need two more folders.
Or no three more folders and then another.
Douglas Esposito 46:51
I like the way you think.
Bob DeMarco 46:53
So what's the reception been like on this growth into folders?
Unknown Speaker 46:59
A good Good. Like, like I said, so many more people carry folders than they do fixed blades. So obviously, there was a lot of pressure, not pressure, but you know, people going, Oh, I really like this, but I can't carry it at work or I can't carry to my state or I can't carry to my country. So when you do folders, let me know. And you know, and then of course, it's, well, how long is the blade? And then I had other people, of course, that when I started doing folders, they're like, oh, finally you're doing folders? I'm like, Yeah, I've been making knives. A year and four months, I finally started doing folders. Awesome. You know, like, yeah, let's take you so long, you slack ass. So, but you know, it's been good. I don't think you can. I don't think you can. Well, I there's, there's there's a I don't know, I'm not gonna say there's plenty but there's there's a few dudes that that's all they do. And they crush it at fixed blades. And I think I think there's definitely room for that. And I think there's an aesthetic There's a work ethic and,
Douglas Esposito 48:03
Unknown Speaker 48:05
a level of craftsmanship that goes into that. But as somebody that's carried a folder and is, you know, at least is into folders as he is fixed blades, it was, you know, it was kind of an inevitable thing. And like I said, when I started out even the fixed blade designs, they were things that I was like, okay, we're going to do this because I want to take it over to the folders. And there was there was actually things that, you know, it's like, you don't know what you don't know. So when I did start to do the transition, I was like, oh, man, I don't, I don't technically know how to bring that over, you know, and then there were there were things that I could have there was things that I couldn't and you know, maybe down the road all I'll figure it out and I'll get better My my, you know, my craftsmanship and my problem solving skills will continue to grow and I'll be able to bring it over but hopefully I'll just be able to grow on the the ergonomics and the values and the craftsmanship that we've been bringing in. You know, Just try to make every piece a little bit better than the last, you know. Yeah.
Bob DeMarco 49:04
It seems to me like, both are very, very challenging, but it seems like folder making is just a, almost a different activity.
Unknown Speaker 49:15
It is, it is it's a, it's a different. There's, there's a couple steps of the same, but it's a completely different workflow, it's completely different process. There's things that you you, you have to do, you know, flat and parallel, is it's to, you know, it's 10 times as important, you know, not that you can get away with with with fixed blades not being flattened parallel, but the level of precision, the level of accuracy goes up. And now you got now you've got 3456 pieces that have to be able to interact, and be and, and, and work together as a unit and keep that blade flat in parallel. And you know, people throw it around, but unless you do it There's no way you can understand what goes into it you know a lot of a lot of a lot of makers will post pictures of what they're doing and people like Oh that's cool and whatever but like they really understand how much time guys spend on on you know getting this deal flat and parallel and making sure that everything's lined up perfectly and the holes are exactly in the right place and that you know, things are you know, honed and it's not just seeing and different grits like there there's there's levels of levels of accuracy and levels of precision that the folders are just a whole nother world it's it's like making a dare me it's making a difference. It's making a different tool 100%
Bob DeMarco 50:43
Well, you're talking about everything flat and parallel and and the first thing that occurred to me is right on how exact the blade grind the pebbles and and the and the distal taper, the blade has to be pretty much perfect because it's sitting between Two pieces of metal that are 100% parallel and the human eye can pick up. You know, you can just see when when something is off centered, or, you know, mounted off centered or ground in a wonky way so that you can just tell
Unknown Speaker 51:14
well, and it's even tougher when you're rounding everything, right, when when things aren't all square corners, like, there's room for interpretation. And it's like, I've made squared off things, and I made round up things. And it's definitely not an easier and it's actually more challenging when everything's rounded off and crown I feel so so how does this proceed into the future? Where do you see a 2d or attention to detail mercantile, in terms of your folders? Like what's coming up in the next five years will say, well, I've really put a lot of time and effort into the ergonomics and the design of it. I know there's a lot of people that it's just again, it's it's just different business models. It's You know, you go back to the Well, I'm going to take something and really tight, try to refine it and make it the best that it can be, even though it's already 99% of the way there, or the, I'm going to try a bunch of different stuff and see what's cool and see what and they're both legit. They're both they're both. They're both good business attack approaches. And creatively probably the latter is the foreigner because you just, you know, getting getting wild and see what what sticks and doesn't. That's just not that's, that's not really, maybe I just don't have time for that. I don't know, I just, I really want to make a good model and have a couple sizes available. And I want to get better at like what you'll see coming up is like right now I'm doing a lot of 2d stuff. I want to get into some 3d stuff, and you know, have some contour, not just the spine. With the whatever and some textures you know, I do the pineapples and things like that with the fixed blades, I want to bring more of that stuff over to the, the, the folders, some in lays, I've got an old paragraph that I've been itching to try to get going. But I've been so busy with shows, I think my last show this year is going to be the new york custom knife show. And then I was looking at Vegas and it's a great show, I just I think I'm going to my shop needs a lot of work I just expanded the shop and there's I haven't done anything, things need to be moved around and re re assembled and I needed to get going with you know, with the folders, it's a different workflow. So I've got to have my folder workflow and my my fixed blade workflow kind of organized. But then there's there's things like you know, 3d stuff and in layers and stuff I want to do with the paragraph and some other things that I've been itching to do that I just haven't had time to I'm hoping that between the November New York custom knife show and blade show, you know, in Atlanta, I'll have some time to do some of that and bring some different pieces, you know, I'll still be, I'll still be making stuff and have like a regular kind of making pieces and probably probably in December, I'll open up my books a little bit for some custom orders. Just we've been so busy with with the shows and just trying to, you know, make some cool pieces and make sure the stuff all works, that I haven't had a chance to really do much in the custom customer area. So hopefully, we'll open it up for a little bit in the beginning of the year, take a couple of custom orders and then you know, still have time to do blade but still get some new innovations, you know, again, it's not going to be you know, nanoparticle technology, you know, nanotubes and all that kind of stuff but new for me type of stuff, you know, so that we keep keep moving Ford and making some interesting stuff.
Bob DeMarco 55:03
Well, I can't wait to see what's on the horizon. Thanks, brother for attention to detail mercantile. I love your work. And Stacey, I've been admiring your work, too. I think I think the two of you have an awesome thing going. And yeah, I just can't wait to see how it grows and to see what you're putting out a year from now. Thanks, Bob. My pleasure. Well, thanks for coming on the Knife Junkie podcast.
Douglas Esposito 55:25
Thanks for having us.
Have a question or maybe you just have a comment. Give us a call at 724-466-4487 will answer your question on an upcoming episode of the Knife Junkie podcast. That number again, seven to 44664487
Jim Person 55:42
back on the Knife Junkie podcast Jim and Bob here and as she said, Bob another great interview with Douglas Esposito and Stacy Jennings from attention to detail mercantile and your thoughts key takeaway as we wrap up this edition,
Bob DeMarco 55:56
well, one of the first things that really struck me Jim was How important it is to have a good partner in work and in life. You are my great partner in Well, this isn't work, but this is you and I work great together. And so for Douglas and Sasha, they have they have a partnership in life and have a partnership and work and they have a real resonance there. And, you know, they go to all the knife shows together, they have a business together and complimentary goods. And I mean, that was the first thing that struck me how cool that is, to me, that's the whole point of going into and making small business it's a lot about family to me, and there is a family dynamic between the two of them and and it's it's creating this amazing business. Now in terms of the knives I have my key takeaway is I must have one I don't know when I'm going to get one of these folders because, well, you know, he's still in the working out phase working it out and kind of figuring the thing out but he's got his design that that mark one is a gorgeous folder. And to me it sits on the same shelf with a with a Strider and a hinder. And so Ben's it in terms of design in terms of simplicity, beauty and obvious sort of rugged utility. I say obvious though I haven't had Helder use them, I know him starting to know him and I know his work. And I can tell that these folders going to be killer. So I have to get myself one, at some point
Jim Person 57:25
seems to be a recurring pattern. You have a guest on the show, and you gotta get one of their knives.
Bob DeMarco 57:29
It's, well, that's a good justification, right. But it also seems a fascinating thing to me was really finding out and having been in his shop, finding out the process and hearing about all of the all of the minutiae that that has to be worked out to have a successful folder and then to be able to reproduce that time and time again. It was fascinating and I think having that attention to detail that that he has, you know, being a maker, a marine A black belt in jujitsu I mean, that's a that's a nuanced art that has a lot of detail in it. So all of those come together I think his I think his folders are going to be outstanding.
Jim Person 58:10
And you can find that at attention to detail mercantile it's spelled a little different it's the kind of abbreviation for attention ATTN and then the number 2 detail mercantile. com So ATTN the number 2 detail mercantile com you can go see everything Bob is talking about.
Bob DeMarco 58:30
And I also suggest if you're on Instagram, which you probably are, subscribe to their page it's or follow them whatever that term is. Their stuff is great, it's great eye candy a couple times a day.
Jim Person 58:42
We'll have links to all that in the show notes for Episode Number 16 which you can find at The Knife Junkie. com slash six zero The Knife Junkie. com slash six zero and if you missed any of our past episodes, you can catch him there. As we said Douglas a repeat guests he was back on episode number 25 So if you want to listen to that episode after you finish up this one The Knife Junkie com slash to five Bob final word as we wrap up
Bob DeMarco 59:07
find someone that you can work well with and get to it. Just do it yep,
Jim Person 59:11
knife drop... we're out of here for Episode Number 60 of the Knife Junkie podcast for Bob The Knife Junkie DeMarco I'm Jim Person saying thanks for joining us.
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