Grant and Gavin Hawk, Father and Son Knife Makers, Hawk Knife Designs — The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 72)

Father and son knife makers Grant and Gavin Hawk of Hawk Knife Designs are featured on episode #72 of The Knife Junkie Podcast.

Grant talks about his start in making knives from his career as a prospector and manufacturer of mining equipment. One day Grant took his son Gavin with him to a knife show, and that sparked the idea to become knifemakers. But the father/son team also were determined to make a better folder.

What started in Idaho City, Idaho — an old gold mining camp of the mid 1800’s — making fixed blade knives for a small local market of hunters and horsemen, has grown to a series of designs for both folders and fixed blades that reflects the Hawk’s efforts of contributing to the body of innovative knife designs.

Learn more about Hawk Knife Designs and Grant and Gavin online at www.hawkknifedesigns.com.

Father and son knife makers Grant and Gavin Hawk of Hawk Knife Designs are featured on episode 72 of The Knife Junkie #podcast... I hope you'll give it a listen. Click To Tweet

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Show Notes

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Grant Hawk 0:00
I've never really thought of myself as an artist and next start with the practical part even if it's an impractical design you still has to be executed in some practical way in order for it to even work. So that's where I've always started is with how it's going to do what it's going to do and then at the very last what it's gonna look like

Announcer 0:26
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast your weekly dose of nice news and information about knives and knife collecting. Here's your hosts Jim Person and Bob The Knife Junkie DeMarco.

Jim Person 0:39
Hello fellow Knife Junkie and welcome to episode number 72 of The Knife Junkie podcast I'm Jim Person

Bob DeMarco 0:46
and I'm Bob The Knife Junkie DeMarco, welcome to the show.

Jim Person 0:48
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast. The place for newbies and Knife Junkie is to learn everything about knives and knife collecting and hear from knife designers makers manufacture punctures, reviewers and anyone who loves knives. And we've got another great interview episode coming up for you today on this show. But first bomb, we want to get to a couple of listener line messages, thanks to some listeners who called in and unfortunately, we weren't able to get these in during our midweek supplemental issue that came out on Christmas day because we had to record that a couple of days early. So we missed a missed a message from Charlie the lefty that we received on Christmas Eve as well as one of our oldest listeners cabin man.

Bob DeMarco 1:31
Yeah, actually, both the cabin men and Charlie have been around since pretty much the very beginning. And cabman was the first man who ever reached out to the podcast. So it's great to finally hear his voice after a year of corresponding via Instagram.

Jim Person 1:45
And one of the things Cabinman did leave on his message and I know he showed you before is the listener line is we're not sitting there waiting to answer it. So it's a recording. So you'll get you'll get a greeting and for you to leave your message. So when you hear the beep and you hear our stuff You can just go ahead and leave a message but Charlie the lefty did on Christmas Eve so what do you say we give a listen to what he had on his wish list for Christmas.

Bob DeMarco 2:08
Let's do it.

Charlie the Lefty 2:09
Hey, this is Charlie the lefty I've been listening to The Knife Junkie podcast just about since you started really enjoying it. A couple things I look forward to for Christmas is the the one that I actually got coming that I ordered on Black Friday. That's the microwave Oh, frying the dough is lifting form of course. And on a cheaper note, like that CRKT minimalist, the new one, that Alan folds design that has a tear pattern underplayed and the glow in the dark candles opens up pretty awesome ticket for Christmas. Other nap been collecting for a long time, and I don't have any ambitions for another knife right now. Yeah, the left hand parts. Anyway, appreciate it. Thanks, guys.

Bob DeMarco 2:59
Thanks. Charlie and a very Happy New Year to you may it be prosperous, filled with love and filled with new knives. Lots of new knives. Also good to hear your voice Charlie after after a while.

Jim Person 3:13
Yeah well, as you said, Good to hear the voice of Cabinman we actually on the Christmas Day supplemental read a thing was what IG Instagram message he had sent you.

Bob DeMarco 3:24
Yeah, we got in on the show about his most carried knife.

Jim Person 3:29
Yeah. So let's hear what cabinman has to say this time.

Unknown Speaker 3:34
Hey, guys, this cabin man Michael as it said, The listener line available but it'd be fun. Tell me to leave a message. So if you don't get this from Cold Steel I would love to see in 2020 their version of the Yojimbo or the yojumbo, the new one coming out or their version of the artisian cutlery proponent. Love those knives I'm So getting in the proponent and looking forward to playing with I mean, working on it. talk to y'all later Happy New Year and love your work Keep it up.

Bob DeMarco 4:17
So that kind of sounds similar to my idea of the Recon one with the with the seaux blade kind of the same sort of neighborhood. I think, cabinman I think you and I are are kind of in the same sort of blade mood, that sort of sax and sort of Wharencliff thing. Let's see some of that from cold steel

Jim Person 4:37
Kindred Spritis if you will. The Knife Junkie and the cainman.

Bob DeMarco 4:40
That's right.

Jim Person 4:41
Well, thanks, cabinman. And Thanks Charlie, the lefty for leaving our listener line messages. We we made a promise on the Christmas Day show that or Bob asked to put me to work to have you call the listener line and leave a message or multiple messages. So I'd have more editing work to do but glad to do it. We want to hear from you. We want to get your voice involved. So if you would like to be a part of The Knife Junkie podcast, call and leave your recorded message, comment, thought whatever you would like to say promote your website promote your knife company if you have one, promote your instagram youtube channel whenever but call us at 724-466-4487 that number again 724-466-4487 and leave us your comments on the listener line. Bob, a great interview coming up today father and son actually that are in the knife business.

Bob DeMarco 5:37
Yeah, that's right. This episode I speak with grant and gavin Hawk. They're acclaimed designers and innovators and makers of folding knives mostly and you know them from the mud folder or the deadlock out the front. That's, that's amazing. But anyway, they're out of Idaho City and it was really great to talk to them. It's a father and son team and very interesting to Get the insights from those two generations.

Jim Person 6:02
What do you say we get to that interview right after this because I do want to let you know that our podcast today is brought to you by QuickBooks Online. They can take managing your small business finances to the next level, which will allow you to focus on growing your business not working on the books, use this special link and get 50% off your subscription, The Knife junkie.com slash QuickBooks, you can get 50% off your subscription on either QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks self employed for the first six months of either product. So get started with QuickBooks self employed or quickbooks online today. Small business owners who have a to do list that never quits you need QuickBooks. If you're looking to simplify your business finances and your life then check out QuickBooks self employed and QuickBooks Online at a special discounted rate The Knife Junkie comm slash quickbooks.

Announcer 6:55
subscribe to The Knife Junkie's YouTube channel at The Knife Junkie dot slash YouTube

Bob DeMarco 7:00
I'm here with the acclaimed pocket knife innovators, Grant and Gavin Hawk. It is an honor and a pleasure to speak to you gentlemen. Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast.

Grant Hawk 7:09
Thank you for having us.

Gavin Hawk 7:10
Yeah. Thank you.

Bob DeMarco 7:11
Absolutely. So I was digging around trying to find out a little bit about you. And I came across two very well produced videos. And I watched them and was taken in by your story. You have an interesting story. Besides producing incredibly interesting and innovative knives. There's sort of an innovative era. There's sort of an interesting backstory, explain how gold prospecting and being out in Idaho led to your knife making career?

Grant Hawk 7:41
Well, that might be question for me. I came to Idaho City in 76. I'd already been prospecting around the country some. This is a mining district. And I was familiar with it from working on a writer when I was Kid. And so I came back to this area and and started looking at mining ground picking up claims and little by little I became more deeply involved in mining things. I embedded some mining equipment and got this shop the building that we're in now in 88 and was making mining equipment and dealing with some drilling project about 100 miles from here in another mining district. And things were going pretty well but in the early 90s, the price of precious metals fell and nobody wanted my mining equipment anymore or mining claims most of our mining issues died down. I was working with Canadian juniors by then locating claims and prospecting girls targets that mining companies would be interested in. Anyway, everything kind of fell apart. And Gavin was young man and I had custody and he was in school. And so I was trying to figure out a way to make a living. Without going all over the country, I'd worked quite a bit in Alaska as well. And so I dabbled around trying to figure out something to do. And I guess, thumbing through a knife magazine made me wonder. I couldn't possibly make a knife. And so at some point, I took Gavin with me and we went to the Eugene, go and spent the three days there walking around and talking to like makers and one thing another. And on the drive home, we talked about it. And it seemed like that was an arena that we might be able to function in. So When we got back, I started making a few prototypes to get a feel for. I introduced myself to Chris Reeve, who happened to be in the Boise phone book 40 miles away. So I drove to Boise and met with Chris and told him I wanted to be a knife maker. And Chris says, Yeah, well, everybody wants to be a knife maker. And have you ever made a knife? Well, no. Whoa, whoa, go make a knife and bring it back and show it to me. So I did that. And when I brought it back, he looked at all over and he said, that's the worst knife I've ever seen. And so I went back and tried some more and little by little I kept bringing in knives. And finally, I think he kind of weakened a little bit and started helping me and gave me a little demonstration of how to grind levels. on things like that, but we've had a long history with Chris Reeve. He used to heat treat our knives when he was doing his own heat trade. But anyway, that kind of got us started. And then when Gavin was I'm not for maybe 13 or 14, he started while he was helping in the shop already after school and then helped him design a fixed blade, which worked out well for him. And he took his knives the school he told them to his principal bought one and these math teacher bought one.

Bob DeMarco 11:42
The good old days in guns

Grant Hawk 11:44
Yeah,

yeah, you can't get away with that anymore. I don't think. we're a small town and so it works out here. Okay. But anyway, so Gavin started making knives as well. And then as he got older you started working together more. And that's kind of how we got started.

Bob DeMarco 12:04
Well, something struck me and that's that. When you were in the mining industry, you were known and successful for being an innovator and creating something new for that industry. And since you've come to the knife industry, that's what you've been known for, as well. I mean, every time a new knife comes out, from the pair of you, there seems to be some sort of innovation involved. Looking at you're looking at your workspace, it kind of looks like the space of an inventor or a fine artist and less of a metal shop.

Grant Hawk 12:42
That's true.

Grant Hawk 12:45
Yeah, and, as a matter of fact, the first knife that probably really put us on the map was the T which is a toggle link mechanism, that design and a few others. After it depended on a total walk mechanism. The idea for that came from mining equipment, not my design but traditional job crashes I realized how much pressure that well there's some unique characteristics about toggle walk mechanism. But it works well in rock crusher is also works in closing in director mode dies and one thing another and that you have a lot of travel. But the actual are the highest scores is applied at the very last moment it was travel. And that actually led to the development of the ET. First we did what we call the code which was a toggle walk mechanism but contained within the handle. And then after that, we develop the T which was an external toggle, which is What e T stands for?

Bob DeMarco 14:02
So these were your first real folding knife innovations that right?

Grant Hawk 14:07
Yeah,

Bob DeMarco 14:07
so Gavin, how old were you at this time? And and what kind of role did you play in developing these innovations,

Gavin Hawk 14:15
I did n't really start helping with the designs until the ET. And even that was somewhat minor. I was mainly just bouncing ideas around and a couple of them stuck and and made it into the final version. But the nice before that, which would have been, well, let's see there was the pony nice, which I was really involved with. And then the dog lock, which is the one I was first involved with as far as making it. So I was grinding the pebbles and doing a lot of the finished work and assembly. And then that carried on into the toes pretty much made most of the parts in the toad especially the latest parts. And then and then yeah, then the E t came along and that's when I, that's when our logo changed from GW Hawk to gng Hawk, GW Hawk standing or, which was my dad's initials, and then gng. Hawk for grant Gavin.

Bob DeMarco 15:18
That's cool. So, as a as a young as a young person interested in knives and kind of doing the, the journeymen side of things, you know, doing doing the hard work, if you will? did that. Actually laying your hands on the metal and doing the grinding and doing all that stuff? Did that sort of lead to a to a necessity that led to these innovations?

Gavin Hawk 15:45
I don't know. I don't know how to answer that.

Bob DeMarco 15:48
Well, let's let's let's look at at some of these unique, I mean, you're not just innovating to do different and interesting things. You're, you're solving a problem with each knife. I would imagine So, how do you go about that?

Gavin Hawk 16:02
So we used to play this game at coffee shops or in the car? And it would be essentially what if a knife did this, and we would start with a long list of some totally impossible ideas and some that were almost practical. Just doing this brainstorming game, we'd eventually come up with something that we both thought could actually turn into a product. And then and then there would be a design stage after that maybe if we're in the coffee shop, we might start penciling out some rough sketches. And then and then kind of move from there. So it was most of the designs up until the deadlock, were really just kind of out of the blue. Like, we weren't trying to solve a specific problem. We were just trying to come up with something interesting and unique. And then figure out a way to make it and yeah, generally had some type of advantage to it. But then the interesting thing about the deadlock is it's the first design, where we almost just took the challenge up of solving a known problem. Because everybody knew that OTS had played play. A lot of people had tried to invent mechanisms to take out played play, but nobody ever really did it. Right. So we thought, Okay, well, we can do that.

So we

took up that that challenge. But yeah, before that, all of the the ideas were essentially just out of left field, which is one of the reasons that the deadlock we think has been so successful, is because you don't have to explain it to people on their other designs. It was you know, they come to our table, and they're expecting liner locks or frame locks or something like that. But we've got this wacky contraption and most of the show is spent saying Okay, well this, this sliver here moves, and then this falls into place. And then this does this. Here you try. Whereas with a deadlock, you just hand them the deadlock, and they already know how it works. They understand the principle, and there's no real explanation of how it works.

Bob DeMarco 18:18
So forgive me because I've never held one. But did you solve the problem?

Gavin Hawk 18:23
Yes, definitely

Bob DeMarco 18:25
Interesting. So, so it's a totally different design than any other double action out the front I might have encountered.

Gavin Hawk 18:33
Correct. And essentially what we did with the deadlock is there's two somewhat separate mechanisms, or I guess three, one of them being the launching mechanism, which is fairly comparable to other mechanisms. We've made some improvements on it, but nothing out of the ordinary or earth shattering. But then the other part is it has a wedge system. That it flies into and that wedge system is actually what takes out the blade play. And then it has a lock that keeps it into the wedge system. And so that that was the big trick so everybody else was trying to figure out how to just lock it in multiple ways or add extra locks. But instead what we did is we wedge it and then hold it in position.

Bob DeMarco 19:24
Not actually knowing how it works intuitively it seems like a wedge is the way to go because you know as long as you keep the pressure sort of increasing which you might with a spring you know you're always going to have it at the at the sort of outside of its tolerance or something.

Gavin Hawk 19:42
Right and and that is the nice thing about the wedge is that it kind of once it hits it just seats itself into position tightens everything up. And then before it can fall back out of the wedge, the walk just engages and holds it there.

Bob DeMarco 19:57
So the mud, the mud, That was solving a problem, was it not? That was like, that was solving the issue of Gritten grant getting in, in the action. Right.

Gavin Hawk 20:08
And that's true, except that it wasn't. I guess I could rephrase it. But it wasn't a known problem, or it wasn't something that people were actively trying to solve. And so that was more of saying, Well, what if you could throw your knife in the mud and it wouldn't get dirt inside of it? Yeah. And then and then solving that problem versus again, the deadlock it was this urban legend of so and so's debt, you know, knife locks up solid, and inevitably, you'd go play with it, and it had played play in it. And and then people would even the common answer was, well, you have to have blade play in an OTF. Otherwise it won't work. And so people would almost just given up on trying to accomplish that goal.

Bob DeMarco 20:59
So I find that knife to be particularly beautiful. I love the symmetry of a dagger. I love out the front I love I love any any sort of folding or mechanical dagger. You know, I'm in already but that's a particularly beautiful one. And it uses an interesting clip you. you gentlemen are known for innovating clips as well. Tell me a little bit about that.

Gavin Hawk 21:30
Yeah, so the the original goal was to develop a clip that didn't tear up your pants was easy to get in and out, but yet it stayed in the pocket. And actually our first attempt at that on the Ram was a clip that had a ratcheting roller. So the on the tip of the clip there was a little wheel and he would roll really easy into your pocket, but then the ratchet would lock and and the wheel wouldn't roll coming out. And and that the way you get it out is you grab the tip of the cliff and just kind of lift up on it a little bit. And that worked really well except it was a little overcomplicated. And we figured out a better way, which accomplished all the same objectives, which was the grip clip, which is essentially kind of like having a clothes pin attached to the to the knife. So now, when you squeeze the clip that lifts the tip all the way up, you can slide it into your pocket, it's not rubbing over the lip of the pocket. And then and then when you let go of it, it grips the pocket securely with quite a bit of string spring force more than you would want in a regular clip because you couldn't be able to get it back out. But in this case, you squeeze the clip again and now you can pull it easily out of your pocket. The other nice advantage is the That you get a little bit stronger clip because especially on the the clip like on Sam the deadlock, where it's a solid machined clip with some compression springs hiding under it so so the body of the clip itself since we're not trying to make that a spring, we can make it really heavy and thick so that if you do catch it, it's not going to tweak or bend the clip. Because as I'm sure you're aware that a pocket clip has to have some springiness to it, and to have that springiness you have to have some relief cut in it, which then makes it inherently weak.

Bob DeMarco 23:41
Well, that that concept of working on making a clip that doesn't absolutely Mangle your clothes is kind of an interesting and modern problem, you know, but but it's it is one I mean, those of us who've been carrying knives, you know, we all have those genes That have sort of expired before their time because the pockets are just unsightly, you know

Unknown Speaker 24:05
Right. And the other problem is that it's not always easy to start the clip into the night into the pocket. So depending on the type of pants you're wearing, you can't even hardly do it one handed you almost have to grab your pants and hold the, the seam of the pants there are the lip of the pant pocket tight, so that you can force the clip to go over that the seam there. Whereas with the grip clip, you just put the knife in your pocket, squeeze it, it easily slides over and goes into your pocket.

Bob DeMarco 24:39
Yeah, it doesn't take much. I mean you just just in terms of you know when I have a new knife or a new pair of pants and I'm kind of pulling up on the clip. It's uncomfortable, especially with sculpted titanium clips, you know, that are so stiff, but right I guess you you deal with that, that little ounce of pain but to have a clip that addresses that is pretty innovative so so to me something that's really interesting is that two generations making these knives grant How does working with your son help you in innovating? How does the the intergenerational sort of play kind of create these interesting knives?

Grant Hawk 25:20
Yeah, well, and so I guess we're bouncing ideas coming from different areas. It helps a lot to just have someone that you can communicate with and, and has an understanding of basic mechanical principles and also an understanding somewhat of the knife industry and what, what buyers want, I think, I think an event that made an impression on me at least was when we went to that first show in Eugene, Oregon. There were some people there with a very special Knife. I don't remember the names of anything I've never seen it before. But there was a single knife there that some people had brought from Germany. And I don't think they were. They weren't like selling from a stockpile of these knives there was only one and it had a big drawing on the back behind their booth how the knife work, and it worked in the most impractical possible way better than the interesting way. So to open this knife, you had to remove a crank handle that was spring loaded in a pocket in the handle, and then you insert the handle into a hole near the axis of the blade pivot and you turn the handle and turning that handle would crank the night off Close to open. It was totally impractical. But there was a crowd around this table. And the price on the night was over $10,000.

Bob DeMarco 27:10
Wow.

Grant Hawk 27:11
And I was impressed that the fact with the fact that the night was totally impractical, yet it drew so much attention, because it was so different. And the mechanism was a worm gear, which is something used in winter is one thing another and that is it'll, it'll stay any place you put it when you stop cranking. That's where the blade is, and it's perpetually locked at every single step of the way from closed to open and open to close. Wow. Anyway, that seemed to say to me that it didn't necessarily have to be practical, but it didn't have to be interesting. And so that was kind of the framework that I developed the whole perspective for the knife world. There were people doing marvelous things that I knew I personally wasn't capable of with fancy engraving and scrimshaw and some wonderful knives made by wonderful people met a lot of interesting people. But I was trying to find something that I thought I could do in the beginning. And that was the thing. That was the niche that I thought I might be best able to exploit. And that is very unusual ways of getting there, practical or not. And so that was kind of the start of working outside the box so to speak, and studying other mechanisms and other technologies for ways that could be applied in some unique way to knife was kind of it started with. And then when we both got into the spirit of it we again like I would say we we spent a lot of time in between everything else we had to do but just dreaming up stuff that may have been impossible but trying to make it possible. And through that we developed a whole bunch of knife designs that attracted a certain following just because of the uniqueness of it. And that's kind of what we relied on for a long

Bob DeMarco 29:34
time. Interesting thing to me is that all of this uniqueness and none of it really seems gratuitous to me. None of it seems like gimmicky, which for an outfit that puts out you know, a range of knives and each thing has an innovation. It's kind of unique not to have it feel gimmicky, but each each time each Design I've seen of yours seems to make sense. You know, it seems to have an internal logic, I guess is the point. So grant when you were a young man and first getting into the idea of knives Where did you see the knife world going and as compared to where it is and what you've done within it.

Grant Hawk 30:26
You said grant and I guess that's what you mean. But yeah, yeah, I didn't I didn't pay any attention tonight until I was looking around for something to do. As a young guy, I carried a knife I I was raised on a cattle ranch. And mostly we just had pocket knives. for hunting, we would take along a knife or some kind of dress game with and we didn't. on a ranch in the mountains. We were already amongst deer and nail and So rather that we didn't really have hunting trips is just that when hunting season rolled around. We had tie a raffle rifle scabbard on our side will feel that we're ready. And then just during the course of the usual chores, we had oftentimes the game and if the timing was right, well, we might take that game and then of course, you have a knife to deal with it. part of the solution to that, right, but I never really, I've never really been a night effective nado. I never, it never occurred to me to collect knives. I'd always had a knife for years, just carried a buck 110 on a belt. He did a lot of projects in the realm of construction and one thing another and, and outdoors. A good part of my life, but I always had a knife, but I never fantasized about making knives

Gavin Hawk 32:02
and so he was about 55 ish 54 when he started making knives

Grant Hawk 32:09
Yeah I guess so. Pretty close to that

Bob DeMarco 32:12
Something I think Gavin you mentioned in one of the videos I watched in, in researching you is that you create these very, very modern knives out of a very rustic space. And it's it's kind of an interesting, you don't expect it you kind of expect you gentlemen to be working in a sort of pristine, brightly lit lab. You know, when in reality, what looks like a tinkerer's shop. It's so cool.

Gavin Hawk 32:41
It is. And a lot of ways we're more inventors than than knife makers anyways, so yeah, our whole shop is set up for inventing things and coming up with ideas now that's that was how it used to be. we've, we've since kind of changed Our business model, not that we won't keep coming up with ideas, but we've really been focused on the deadlock. And because of the popularity and the just the demand, we've remodeled our shop, more for production. We've hired employees and bought new machines. So we're kind of going going in this new direction of just manufacturing high end knives in our

Bob DeMarco 33:31
that's great. And your hands will be on on all of them, I'm assuming.

Gavin Hawk 33:36
Correct.

Bob DeMarco 33:37
All right. So I know that innovation is a big part of it, or at least it's a big part of it. For me, I keep mentioning it, but what about aesthetics for you guys? I mean, each one of your knives looks unique. And I wouldn't even say from one knife to the next that Well, I mean, there maybe there's a design language I haven't quite picked up on but each Each design is unique and beautiful. And mechanical. But So how much does the look of the knife play into its development?

Grant Hawk 34:12
usually comes last

some of the some of the early knife designs that will I probably came up with a deadlock in the beginning and I don't know maybe that so I don't know it we're kind of overlap there a little bit but, but I had made some contraptions here just by hand and the cop that was really just a three dimensional study of the mechanism. Some of them very they look like a knife, but an opening mechanism of one kind or the other and usually marked up with aluminum and brass, and oversize and with no regard whatsoever to work. I just try to study the mechanism. Determine what it was that was going to make it work or prevent it from working, try to take all the considerations into play. And then at the very last, we decided to move forward, then we would decide how it looks based partly, or maybe almost entirely on what the parameters of that particular mechanism was, like, you need to have a place to put the mechanism. So there has to be room for there may be considerations as to how it works and how everything that unfolds goes out of sight and it can't be too big and too little, and so on. And then at the very last, kind of draw a line around it and make a bow and close all that mechanism that you're going to do and then that's kind of what the night looks like. And then maybe I don't know, add some things, experiment with some of the variables and Till finally deciding that, yeah, this is the way we're going to go. But I've never really thought of myself as an artist. And next start with the practical part, even if it's an impractical design, it still has to be executed in some practical way in order for it to work. So that's where I've always started with, how it's going to do what it's going to do. And then at the very last, what it's going to look like.

Bob DeMarco 36:28
So you mentioned what it's going to do, how much do you take into account what the end user might use it for? or How much do you design a knife for a specific purpose? You know, I look at the deadlock and it's a wicked looking weapon to me. And to me, there's no weapon is not a bad word when talking about knives. It's It's yet another reality when talking about knives. Of course, thanks. Thank God, not anyone's prime. Reality are most people in any case, but it is there and you look at a dagger and you think, wow, that would be I'd like to have that, you know, when I'm not feeling right out on the street, you know ...

Unknown Speaker 37:12
So the dagger look, of course is an old one and traditional and started with the Romans club were grinding sharpening their swords on both sides, I don't know. And so it was easy to fall into that it's also easier without the front to be symmetrical. Yeah, which isn't so easy with a knife that pulls from the side. And so to me, it's almost entirely dictated by the mechanical parts. And then you have some flexibility with the line you draw around the outside. But like the case of the deadlock, it couldn't be one smidgen smaller because every builder that's facing us for something, either to hold it together. Or the story that parts. Another thing that unique about the deadlock is that we were the first to put the lock in the blade Tang. So there's not a separate there is a separate mechanism at both ends. But the lock itself actually travels with the blade Tang in the blade Tang. And so that gives us a little more wiggle room on design because that's one less thing that has to be accounted for in the profile and the knife outside of the profile of the blade and the space of it takes up and it's travel and, and so on. So anyway, just kind of muddling through and blending all of those in as best we can. And then trying to make it work right and trying to make it look interesting. I don't know if we put a lot into that or not. I'm not sure when it gets to where it works and the looks okay then. Here we go. But I don't see my thought I don't think either one it was see yourself as primarily artists were good guys who make things.

Bob DeMarco 39:10
I, to me, the two knives that are popping into my mind are the mud and the deadlock. And they and they're both beautiful in their own way and the the mud. I'm thinking of the automatic, it looks so business like that it's it's artful and then the deadlock is so artful it's it's business like some something about them. They're both and of course, like you mentioned, with an out the front you you have an opportunity to deal in symmetry and something about that is so appealing, and, and, yeah, the shape of the handle is just on that note, it's very, it's very appealing to me.

Grant Hawk 39:50
Oh, well. Yeah, and it's, it probably leans a lot towards the traditional look. The dagger Look, I don't know if there's too much innovation in the deadlock as far as the overall profile or design goes. We just made it as small as we could still get everything in there and then the lines to look.

Grant Hawk 40:17
Okay.

Bob DeMarco 40:18
So what kind of things are you looking at? for your next big knife? Is there a problem you're trying to solve? Or is there an innovation your you probably don't want to mention it if you're halfway through it, but is there something you're working on?

Grant Hawk 40:35
any secrets, we're things kind of go through stages, there's kind of a conceptual part about how something might work. And so we have a lot of preliminary drawings of mechanisms that we might exploit in the future. I think we've kind of for the moment, at least, put all that on the back burner and want to make the wheels go around. This deadlock bit we're in the middle of. And as you probably know, we've worked with manufacturers on licensing agreements in the past on different things. And that's been a big help, and it's worked well and but in this particular case, whenever whenever you do that whenever you have a collaboration with a company, it starts off as a compromise with the two different interests, the two entities as a

as makers and and vendors and

and then the perspective of a company that is going to make and manufacture and market it and so on. And so we just decided that when we got to the deadlock, and we realized there was sustainable demand that we felt like we could probably weather the learning curves Developing that particular design into a workable production that and keep it in house, just so that we don't, we're not sharing the well be authority really how it should be and how we want to market it and how we want it to look and so on. So yeah, so we're comfortable with that are, our collaborations have been really good for us, it helped us a lot and that it provided a steady stream of cash flow. During the years, we were spinning our wheels and trying to make new designs all of which doesn't really pay into paying product. So anyway, all that worked out really well. But we really like the idea of calling our own shots. Yeah, now the way we're doing it,

Gavin Hawk 42:50
and and so the deadlock, we've been making that for four or five years now. And since we've been working on the deadline, we haven't really come up with anything else. Innovative, and, and so all the focus has been on the deadlock. But the deadlock itself has gone through probably eight revisions internally. So even though it kind of looks the same on the outside every batch that we were making, we completely re engineered the inside.

Bob DeMarco 43:21
So while you're doing that, while you're while you continue to sort of evolve the deadlock, what goes on with your other designs? Do you do you have those other tried and true designs in the hands of collaborators? Or is that something that you wait to pull out at some point for your your own shop to produce again? How does that work?

Gavin Hawk 43:44
Well, so a lot of it, you know, it takes two or three years for a knife to really go from initial prototype, to giving it to a manufacturer them making their prototypes, first runs, and I don't know all that stuff and so We had kind of a cache of cache of knives that were already with manufacturers. And then we started working on the deadlock. So while we're working on the deadlock, we had designs coming out. But we weren't really doing anything else. But working on the deadlock. And with that, we would come up with you know, 14 prototypes, and then figure out all the issues while you know the assembly issues and manufacturing problems, redesign, remake, redesign remake until we got to a point where we're at now, where we felt really comfortable with the internal designs, and we kind of took everything into a new direction. So instead of spending more time evolving the deadlock, we're satisfied with it. And now we're going we're focusing in that that manufacturing direction. All right. And the goal what we'd really like to get at least I'd like to get is a point where we have talented employees, the That can kind of take the reins and, and make the knives. And then we can go back to inventing and creating new things that we can then launch in our own knife company. And again, have full control over the materials and specs and everything and just kind of build ourselves that direction.

Bob DeMarco 45:23
But right now you're expanding your capacity with your own means of production that I think that's, that's an important step to be taking. Right?

Gavin Hawk 45:34
Correct. Yeah. So once we can kind of get a strong foundation under us of the deadlock just being produced every month. Everybody knows what to do. We've got all the systems in place, then we can branch off of that and introduce new inventive concepts

Bob DeMarco 45:53
is the technology that you developed for the deadlock something That you would license to other makers seems like Problem solved. That's been around a long time.

Gavin Hawk 46:09
we've briefly talked about it with other custom knife makers on a very limited scale, although nothing is really come to fruition yet, as far as licensing it, of course to a manufacturer or any large scale stuff. We've decided not to do that at all. But it's not out of the question to do a small run with another custom guy.

Bob DeMarco 46:35
But it actually yeah, I mean for your, your plans to ramp up your own manufacturing, it makes sense to just keep that keep that little baby to yourself. And keep pumping them out and and and expand what you can do. Right? I gotta say someone that I love online, is advanced knife Pro, and he absolutely loves the most slipper and I keep coming back to that. I know I'm a dagger guy, and I'm an out the front guy lately, but that that mud slipper I just keep coming back to it. So are there any any plans in the in the near future to get anything out that your average guy can can get his hands on?

Gavin Hawk 47:21
We've been talking about it. We're, we're hoping like I said we can get this deadlock kind of just coming and and every month we're able to put knives out the door. Just get a nice system going and then at that point we'll we'll probably reintroduce something either the manual mud or the mud auto, maybe the orbit and and start bringing some of those back online.

Bob DeMarco 47:48
Great. Well grant and Gavin Hawk, thank you so much for coming on The Knife Junkie podcast. It's been a pleasure speaking with you and finding out kind of where these spectacular knives come from and who they come from. So it's been a real pleasure thank you very much

Grant Hawk 48:05
Well, thank you so much for having me on it definitely.

Announcer 48:07
You know you're on Knife Junkie if you plan your vacation around the next knife Expo.

Jim Person 48:12
Okay back on episode number 72 of The Knife Junkie podcast, great conversation bond with Graham and Gavin Hawk father and son. I don't know that we've ever had a father and son on before

Bob DeMarco 48:23
we've had brothers. Right. And we've had husband and wife or a couple.

And

yeah, so we've had a few few of those. But anyway, never father and son.

Jim Person 48:36
Yeah. Interesting. Interesting. Dynamic.

Bob DeMarco 48:38
Yeah, really. And and, you know, I just love the generational interplay and just how the experience of grant in machining and the youth of Gavin not that he's youth, but you know that the young nature and the older nature and the the technical and the design coming together, it just seems a very harmless Is artistic partnership I don't know what else to say it's

I think they have it down and I love the if you

haven't seen the video they have on their website have them in their workspace you have to check it out their workspace looks like a fine artist like a painters like a Picasso barn or something it's got a real honor no romantic look to it I love for workspace I don't know you know okay I'm getting ahead of myself But anyway, these guys are great and I love how how they work together and complement one another strengths.

Jim Person 49:31
Well you mentioned their website that's hot knife designs. com Hawk knife designs.com will have a link on the show notes page at The Knife Junkie dot com slash 72 where you can find that link in more on this episode and you can actually listen to that episode right on the Knife Junkie web page. The Knife Junkie dot com slash 72 I want to remind you that we'll be back on Wednesday with our midweek supplemental issue and don't forget Thursday night It's Thursday night knives at 10pm. Eastern Bob and I took off the week of Christmas from Thursday night knives but not the podcast. So we'll be back on audio on Wednesday and video on Thursday Bob

Bob DeMarco 50:13
that's right that's right. I can't wait to get my face back in front of that camera.

Jim Person 50:16
Oh boy. All right, that's going to do it for Bob the knife junkie DeMarco. I'm Jim the knife newbie person. Thanks for listening to the Knife Junkie podcast.

Announcer 50:25
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