Ian Pickarski of CMF Metalworks joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on this week’s podcast. They chat about making great looking custom knives (see Ian’s Instagram for examples), the impact of social media — especially Instagram — on knife collecting, the use of exotic materials in knife making and even getting lit on fire (more than once) while making a knife.

Call the listener line at 724-466-4487 or email bob@theknifejunkie.com with your thoughts on today’s show.

Show Notes

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Ian Pickarski of CMF Metalworks The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 40)

I designed each knife. Kinda like on the metal like i don't prototype in paper or anything i just kinda jumped straight into the physical no automation . My mill is barely a mill. It's more of a glorified drill press belt grinders bandsaw buffing wheel sandpaper welcome to the knife junkie podcast. You're weekly of knife news and information about knives and knife collecting. Here's your hosts jim person and bob the knife junkie demarco hello nine junkies and welcome to episode so number forty of the knife junkie podcast. I'm jump person and i'm bob the knife junkie demarco welcome to the show welcome to another goodwin. We've got a interview coming up with ian john karski c._m._f. Metal works the bob before we get into that. I want to remind our listeners that today's podcast is brought to you by audible. You can get a free audiobook download download and a thirty day free trial just by going to audible trial dot com slash the knife junkie over one hundred and eighty thousand titles to choose from your iphone android kindle dole or m._p. Three player again get a free audiobook download and a thirty day free trial at audible trial dot com slash knife junkie bob another ah good interview coming up but before we get into your chat with ian i know one of the questions you always talk about is you know social media. How's it affecting you know the knife world and that kind of thing and he instagram especially as kind of a tie into our guest today who's got just some gorgeous pictures on instagram and you know that's really you know kind of propelling his knife business if you will but the knife junkies got an instagram account to the knife chunky dot com slash instagram but maybe not in a lot of post oh slightly super lazy with it and and if you're lazy with instagram that's-that's about the that's that's the end shows you that you lazy but actually really there's. There's been an uptick. I'm trying to well in the interest of reducing and refining. I want a cadillac my collection before i started selling selling stuff off. That's my home justification for the delay in selling things any step here for the knife donkey indeed so i'm trying to you know daily. I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself but you go on. Every couple of days are on a daily basis at least right now. All i'm excited about it. I'm gonna take little short. Videos doesn't matter where i am does matter what i'm doing but it's gonna each little the video going to highlight one of my knives collection and then i will have a catalog of everything i can start in good conscience selling stuff on the got a plan exactly but you mentioned instagram. That's how i've discovered so many people a number of people we've had on the podcast hugh but you know it's been a continuation of people i discovered covered on youtube like jeff blau years ago when he was tough not tough thumbs and just pimping knives and then he evolved into an amazing artist knife maker and and then he was the you know he sort of helped ian karski learn about the craft himself so it's kind of cool to see how this just kinda keeps getting passed around like were males were very visual and and the whole instagram thing is is a great way to get knife people interested. Yes seems like the the perfect platform for artist if you will knife makers who have something visual to sell something tangible and i forget who said it on a recent podcast. You know a lot of these knives. You're buying your dying on the internet. You're buying long distance unless you go to a knife show and actually see it and touch it feel it. All you have to do is the site the picture you know how it looks so instagram is a is a perfect platform for that yeah that was elliott williamson she he's talking about designing not only for the hand but designing for the i yes so that translates over over the internet and you're looking at a knife. You never gonna have a chance to get in your hand before you buy it or get it in your hand so and that comment about male. I didn't mean to say that the only males actually there is a huge growing community of it's not community but i've i've noticed a lot of women are tonight's. My wife isn't denies. That's how i met her years ago learning how to night fight but it is a visual thing and if you can get people on board with that with house on our it looks so i gotta say improprieties work. We're gonna be talking about soon is dazzling. I mean look at it. It's he uses the most most outrageous materials his his designs are are gorgeous beautiful flowing lines and very different from jeff blau velde's work but i could see i can see how they think come from the same universe film to check out some of those works of ian on his instagram. That's instagram dot com slash c._m._f. Metalworks anthem dan karski of c._m._f. Metal works and bob mentioned the larger growing or whatever community of female knife enthusiast and knife collectors. If you happen to be one we'd love to hear from you.

Call us on the listener line at seven two four four six six four four eight seven seven two four four six four four eight seven. Give us a quick little message. Is there about how you got into it. Maybe even get you as a guest on the podcast. We love to have some female representation there on the podcast bob. We've mentioned ian karski of c._m._f. Metal works works a couple of times what he say we dive right into your interview with him. Let's do it follow the knife jokey on instagram at the knife junkie dot com slash instagram. I want to ask you about these crazy tips hips and grinds they. They are kind of illogical when you look at them. It's like how can that be sharp but obviously you know i know they are yeah yeah stabbed myself again three or four times a day so you have the the sweat running the back of a lot ear knives and it just looks like it it all i dunno it. All just kind of blends blends in. It's a crazy looking tip. I i i admire it. I think jeff blau veld does something similar someone someone that we'll talk about later but it it's a real the way it widens out the way the edge bev widens out at the tip to provide that robustness the bus ness. It just looks so cool. I agree. It's a i guess a lot we would argue is not the most practical but it's not the most impractical. Why is it not the most practical. I don't know i mean i've heard a lot of like oh. It's not been behind the edge. It's not going to be good for cutting but i mean on a tanto at least on the knives that i've owned. I've never used the tip for slicing splitting tape right right and that's the whole point of tanto tip anyway yeah. It's not supposed to be slightly. I dropped my knives. My personal life not the ones that people frequently so i like. It speed relatively tough okay do you do you walk around with the knives. Is that you make in your pocket to test them out or any of that though i if if i make a knife it doesn't touch my pocket because i generally i'm known in my small group of friends as the pocket clip killer i'm i'm six foot six so my pockets sits exactly at the kind of like edge of the door frame right where that like weird actually clicks in right so i'll walk through the door almost every time i'll have the pocket clip. I'll break it off and it snapped. I learned a lot of clips so i don't want to risk my my customers knives. Okay so let's talk about these knives one of the reasons. I'm sure one of the reasons you don't carry them around. Cause us exquisite materials. I mean really beautiful material . Tell me about the materials you use and you obviously put a whole lot of handwork into you know every inch of these knives any specifics who'd like to touch on her. Just what will the like handle materials. The mocha is at moca mayors. That's black damascus on the one hand or just this. It is a man. It's astounding . How'd you how'd you get all of those characteristics to come out of the material that i just kinda careful coloring when i got started with jaffe when he showed me how to heat color and it's it's just i've taken. His method changed it a ton to fit kinda my own my own style. i mean i use a hot map guests. I use a hotter tourists and recommended but you heat both sides evenly. Just make sure that nice polish clean it really well. I mean that's probably the biggest one and just go slow and when you when you start to see it hitting the colors you want quench in water. There's not really. I don't really know how to explain knowing that too much as well so you you mentioned jeff blau felt i know so let's go back like how did you get to the point in your life where you are making super high tight end beautiful handmade knives. Have you always been a knife guy. I have not i've only been in an is now for maybe five years less than that. Maybe i mean i've only been making knives now for two and a half years oh my i work at starbucks until january fourth of twenty seven team gene full-time in before that i was modifying bala san's and i kinda got into the custom knife world i got more into folders and i started looking like around me and i found jeff one day posting a picture the king of prussia mall in pennsylvania in there many times yeah and i kinda thought to myself . That's right there so i. I tried reaching out to on instagram. Once you have that me followers you get so many message requests that everything just kinda falls all through so i don't i don't blame them but message fell through so i saved up a few months and i purchased one of his knives and i asked him if i could come pick it up so i went there and brought one of my nights that i was modifying. I showed him. I really love to make folders. I love and show me how to do this and and jeff kind of took me under his wing and i think i worked with him for eight months.

Need a little longer eight nine months and then i i moved to arizona with my wife but he he really gave me a good foundation to start with working with my own materials might own machines in my own shop before that it was just kinda nerve wracking right right since then it's just been picking other knife makers brains and picking up tips and tricks from people like john gray nadia more dalibor for rob carter. I mean those kind of guys. Just a who yeah i saw that rob carter collaboration knife you made the tanto dr are franchi featured on his channel yet c._m._f. Sixteen that was that was hidden hardware black mask with hidden harbor zirconium balsers shadow box. I remember that one that was a cool you just you're talking about hidden hardware right there and and difficult materials to work with and and a difficult process i would assume i'm to hide the hardware to create a knife with hidden hardware. It's more complicated i would imagine is there an aspect to this. as you know from your perspective as you wanna make the most challenging knife possible in the most beautiful knife possible is that because you rattled off all those things and i was like wow that that is like a perfect storm of expense you know if if all goes wrong sir ask me like how would i progress that further to make it more difficult sir no no. I guess i'm asking do you push yourself for the challenge or is it more you know i'm gonna make this knife is going to have all of these features and it's really hard and my customer is gonna love it and part of that is because they know how much kind of work and sweat and engineering went into it so i. I guess it's more for me to challenge myself . I really like to see what i can do and kind of push myself for instance right now. One of my goals is to make take a knife that weighs less than one ounce a cold titanium frame lock. I'm still figuring out what to do what i can do and right now. My best is one point seven ounces. Wow do you have a size restriction that you try to live up to or it has to be like a full-size mini night so i mean i know that people who listen the podcast can't see if this one is eight and a quarter inches long okay. My mini is seven and a half inches long. Oh okay how sad is kinda my parameter. I'd like to pleaded that lengthwise. That's kind of where i'm working in but thicknesses where i'm trying to get it. I'm using hundred thousands thick scales. I'm using being eighth inch blades. I'm doing hollow grinds anything. I can do to to shave some weight and i wish on this last one. I kinda like they say hindsight is twenty twenty right so i'm still kind of kicking myself for not doing more well. There's always time to do more. You can always make another one. Yes yes yes. I have to keep telling myself that little stress me out so so with this one you were going for one. You ended up with one point seven. That's that's still pretty amazing with steel and titanium. What's your shop like. Do you have any automation to use cad draw by hand. What's your process. so i draw everything out on pen and paper i don't know how to use cad with water jet guy when i got started in he designed signed me out on a rectangle or blanks kinda like coupons and it just has my lock bar cutout and it has my stopping location marked and everything else was done in house allow and i designed each knife kinda like on the medal. I don't prototype in paper or anything. I just kinda jumped straight into the physical prototype. I have no automation. My mill is barely a mill. It's more of a glorified drill press belt grinders bandsaw buffing wheel sandpaper that kind of stuff so when you're prototyping one of your new models you have a you have a number of models and i love the names both both the greek references in this weird sort of other mistress fair honey. What are you trying to tell me so. You're finished knives. I look at them everyday every day. Basically they're so they're so they're taking the such a high level of finnish polish in beauty materials in such when you're prototyping. I i would assume you use other materials. Is that right. I prefer to use the highest end materials like hand with prototypes specifically when i'm trying something new because when when you have that much money on the line it kind of forces you to work that much harder especially if you don't know what you're doing when i the my first hidden hardware knife was a arcor blade aide with a full billet of damascus for the scales my first time doing anything with mother of pearl was hidden hardware mother of pearl with a earlier polish blade which was my first polish blade and black mask hidden hardware scales

I'm working with with gold coming up soon soon. Wow that's gonna be fully hidden. Hi random. That's i find myself more motivated when i use higher end materials for prototypes in new methods it just it really really forces me to be more careful right like i kind of figure out all the flaws upfront i mean of course i'll find more flaws down the line but it's generally that will push which me to work as hard as i can. Do you consider yourself . Do you consider these works of art knives or i can't tell if that's if that's considered considered a different realm or if that's considered a diss in certain realms or what are yours art knives. I don't know how to answer that. I i guess to a certain degree. I'd like them to be . I mean i see them as kind of a way to express my creativity better question. Can you abuse them. I guess can hold up to yeah. I mean i wouldn't i wouldn't tell them over the mother of pearl and gold knife to go out and start cutting stuff real hard right. I mean him hardware blacks mascots and a hendra blade gopher. They look so substantial . There's a sleekness to them but there's also a i also love love this affair. I love the bulb the sort of leaf shaped. It's almost like a barong with a little re curve. They're aggressive and sleek and beautiful well and they kind of hit a lot of marks at once so what's your design process like. Where do you get the inspiration. Race cars race cars in an an older older style just eagles general airplanes lines just . I think jeff put it really well. I mean if you see a race car. You see you see lines that all flow nicely. Everything's aerodynamic. Everything's organic and then you look at some of the older stuff so the flow lines take kind of a bad example donald look at the beadle writes a lot of bulbous shapes but it's very organic design and that's kind of where it comes from. I mean i sit down. I mean all design. Maybe ten knives in the night. One of them will be good. I definitely i definitely draw a lot more losers than winners. So do you have a period of time. Where you're you're just designing and then you go. Executor's cuter is a kind of a back and forth all the time. It's kind of just one of those things we've pops into my head of drought even if it's a crude sketch on my iphone right just as long as i get that idea down it doesn't have to come to fruition immediately this affair that i was just looking at once said that yeah it looks like the cars they drive in the movie chinatown. You know like those big lush nineteen thirties sedans. Everyone drove around in so what is your favorite part of this process right before putting on the pocket clip. There's a ten minute period where your knife has a ground blade unconquered handles and you just really get z. Design come to life. You don't really get that feeling before the latest ground after that you just kind of seems it's like when you know it's gonna work like everything can go wrong up until that point once on that point. That knife is is done. I mean i say that in quotes because there's a lot more to do but you know that everything's going to pretty much go smoothly from there and that's kind of like the i look forward to that moment up until i know that i'm gonna be stressed entire built once i hit at that point it's like oh. This is where the funds starts. Okay your shoulders relaxing now. Gonna handled make the pocket clip. Relax a bit contour. Do the finish work. That's where the creativity comes out before that it's just functionality and making sure that it's a safe night to use its knife that is quality and built right so say you're you're working on a damascus blade and you grind the tank down ever so slightly slightly because i know in lockup every every tiny tiny little amount matters would you would you rebuild. Would you build a different handle to accommodate. Take the blade or how does that work or is that just it have. You just sacrificed. One of the gods cut the lock to far yeah or if anything happens while while say you're doing coming you're doing a blade like a really nice damascus blade and something happens that will affect lockup. Would you design a handle to accommodate that or how does that. You can't just you don't want to just throw away at some beautiful piece of metal is that right. Most of the blades have ruined have been damascus. Unfortunately all. I know it sucks. I probably have six or seven hundred dollars in damascus blades sitting on my workbench out there that i've just started using as templates it depends on the problem one of the things i do is i set my lock-up before detect which offers me a good amount of flexibility as far as screwing up if i cut the lock a little far. There's always ways that i can kind kind of a long eight o'clock bar just a hair hidden a couple of points and then re remelted locker leaf just to kind of stretch the material to work again but really catastrophic atas traffic problems.

I mean it's it's one of the i'd rather to scrap damascus blade than give a product not now quality well. I wasn't suggesting that you would do that. I was just curious. If if there's anything you could do to save that and i just imagined that there isn't in that and the tiniest margin of error can can destroy you know really depends on the problem that that's got to be a white knuckle experience anything that involves tolerance like like bearing tracks or the pivot hole. If there's something wrong with those that's kind of like a scrap the blade kind of deal but i mean i can fix late lockup. I can fix a squishy . It's all kinds of situational. Tell me about some of the collaborations you've done some of the collaboration knives and what that processes like you go from a very solitary activity of making your own handmade knives and sure you're working alone all day every day and then and then you go into a working creative working partnership with someone obviously someone you trust and like how how does that change your your thinking startup knife. Making is the loneliest job in the world. Which is i think why makers collapse so frequently so the way that i i like to approach collaborations is kind of goes both ways. I like to kind of build a blank canvas like we were talking about that point where like the blades his ground in the the handles altogether and that's kinda like that sigh of relief basically build it to right before that point you don't grind the blaine you just the blade. You just have the . The lockerbie fund set lock upset blades centered. Everything's kind of moving as a unit enya. Send it to someone else for all the fun stuff aw that's essentially how i work collaborations with the people i've worked with with the one exception being robert carter who just he and i have seen each other parts that just have sketches on them of where the handles supposed to be in just worked off of that so why is it that you always take that role i mean it goes both ways. I mean that's how i expect to get them as well from other makers l. it just kind of eliminates any of the the mechanical guesswork i build my knives mechanically different than brian efforts spilt his . I'm sure he builds his way different than mine so when we send it that way we know that functionality of the night is exactly how the first maker wants to be okay. Okay so you don't have to change any of that. You just got to grind the blade you the handles it pretty essentially don't worry about any of them canucks. Thanks have you had it where you design the blade. The other maker designs the handle advice for i know you've designed the handles like in that robert carter collaboration. That was your the handle right. Yeah look his blade. So have you done it. Where it's your blade. Someone else's handle not physically yet bryan bryan. I efforts. I have designed a knife that were currently working on where he's designed the overall knife and i've put my mic touches on it and we're gonna come make that come into uh into reality here pretty soon. I think it's really amazing when you look at successful collaboration. I've you can clearly see the influence of both makers. I i like that sometimes. one will seems to overtake the other you look at it new and you're assuming it's all just one person but someone else had had had something to do with it so collaborating with other makers is one thing what about this this current production model of collaborating elaborated with o._e._m.'s because it is kind of a collaboration you're not just under design and they're doing it this day and age with we in riyadh and best tekken those kind of how how do you feel about those kind of situations. Is that something you would. You would look to do in the future collaborate with a custom factory or something like that. That is something i'm looking into already already. I posted pictures of my collaborations with alliance designs new company out of california yup yup the conquest. I wish i had to hear the show you so. Do i yeah i know i gave it to a friend of mine at checkout for the weekend but i i really liked it. I mean i won't make production life of any model that i make custom mr playing with over here i mean i'm never making production model of that. Never going to happen but i have a whole book just dedicated to designing knives that i'd love to be made into production once that i think are good enough for me to make an accustom nine but just don't allow the same kind of create a freedom todd play with take my current models do right and if you're designing you know sitting down and designing ten knives night dr however many per week that's that's an awful lot of bandwidth for you to make does all custom so i could see you on the farm out at two people who are making at devoted to making excellent knives. I have a couple of riyadh's in a couple of weeks and and they're i mean they're great now.

I'm wondering about how they compare to customs because i have no custom folding knives. I only have one custom knife period infix blade from attention to detail. It's in his beautiful. It's my baby out together. It's not my baby if you're listening honey but i wonder like you use these knives riyadh especially you actuate them and you cut with them and they're spectacular and it makes me wonder. How much better can it get and then i think well. There's one person spending all of these hours on this one knife. It can get better in to to me. That's i look forward to experiencing it. I think that is a kind of a tough one to talk about 'cause better worse. This is kind of relative man. That's a tough question to answer well. I think what i'm suggesting it can be hard for this late in the . I'm sorry what what i'm suggesting. The thing is i think that that the final element that doesn't exist in a we or a riot is the actual soul artists. That's going to great way putting the kind of love it goes into the build yeah and and i i honestly believe without without being a flake that that's actually a real thing you know. I think i mean i really like every night. If i make a when i sell it i mean i'm selling someone who i hope enjoys it and i think i think of production knives more directly mind with tools. Yes custom knives. I think comes back to what you were saying about art knife when even a lower end custom knife like midtech or something. I don't think that would count is more along the lines of an art knife rather than a tool at their as they're all tools but right off comes down to that the soul love that goes goes into it right because because still presumably there some handwork going into it at the latter part of the process yeah so . Who is your customer. Who's buying your knives and like collectors users. I don't know like i hope that my customer someone is passionate about knives as i i am. Maybe more so i mean i kinda screen each person for custom orders. I mean they have to be really interested to for me to like really want to sell them something. I think it's also answer man. Don't know a lot of my customers on a personal level but i can see i can see they're kind of persona on instagram and social media and kind and who they are in that sense when you have the people who actually used their stuffing abuse it and then you have people who are just kind of like take pictures of it or collect yeah. I love all of those those kind of subgroups at admit to myself at one point that i was a collector for a while. I was like well. I just have these to protect myself and then i was like well you know. I just have a bunch of them. Because you know different needs you know different things might pop up and then i realized i have a chestful of i guess i guess there is a bit collector inmates and and i am been talking about this reducing refined that epic snuggle bunnies been talking about basically you know kinda i i don't have to own all the knives i have i could i could start to get a little more mature. In in my acquisitive nece. I guess is the word and then have fewer but handmade and that's that's. I think we're going to be headed in the next five years. I can't deny can't spend that much money but kind of kind of pulled on your collection bit and just kinda focused on certain certain speak to you yes instead of like opening up the be like wow they're also cool and then getting option paralysis. This is teasing carry. That might not move what pants my way. You know yeah i mean that's kind of how i was. When i got started. I really started buying up knives. No one point. I think i had like thirty nine. I think now i own or what what what are the if you don't mind my asking a touch knives sparrowhawk jen one. I have a a ballot ballistic folder his prototype ones. I have a spider coast subvert and i got one more that i can't i the main. It's a micro check out the front men. I applaud your restraint. In your discipline discipline eagles freedom as jacko says so so you know what would you see for the future of your of your outfit. I've observed a number of models. There's sort of chris reeve hinder strider strider model. Where were you have a small production house and do occasional collaborations in such or big factory or or just gonna stay custom custom and do some o._e._m. Steffl where do you see the company going. I think for the time being at least the next five years. I'd like to focus on just kind of maintaining custom stuff if i'm gonna do any my own production it'll be with my dad. He's an engineer. He's really good at that kind of stuff. I mean he knows all the cat. I don't do that. You put you put cat in front of me and i was like yeah you put a piece of paper on top of it and start drawn yeah exactly i foresee foresee myself possibly doing some o._e._m.

Stuff in house production. Maybe the next five to seven years. Maybe the next next two to three years few more reproduction knives custom knife factory more lines design stuff designs that are more more geared towards actual users of my work a lot of my knives of curves . You're gonna see me do productions on won't have re curves just too much hassle the sharpening right people telling me that there are useless shapes perceived hassle if he has made but yeah i love reader's to as you might be able to tell from my desire by the way i love the so bad as thank thank you i was. I was debating on which one to bring inside fiddle with while we were doing this. I'll pick the mistress not baker's but i haven't nicholas out in the shop very cool. Thank you i'm. I'm building one for the u._s. Senate show that i'm quite excited to show off. The people night that's in las vegas vegas at the end of august end of august wanted to give a little plug there. You're gonna be there. When is it if the weekend before labor day okay data friday and saturday is the actual show weekend before labor day. So how do you get people people to buy your work. Is it all through instagram. How can people find you. I know you have a website looking at it right. Do a website that i i kind of ignore most of the time. It's just kind of there's people google my name really gotta get better with update in instagram is a kind of my biggest audience but lately i've really been kinda leaning towards facebook kind of intimacy of having the personal group i mean i know a lot of guys who are kinda like frequent flyers in there. It just feels much more small and secure in a really fun way to sell is everyone's kind of enthusiastic in their instagram sometimes people who just wanted to flip flip it is a private group and most people have a hard time finding it in google. I can't find it. I don't know how to fix that. I've tried so for anyone listening. If you wanna join a facebook group i do have a link to that in the bio of my instagram at metalworks. You just click that and you make sure you answer the questions because i'm not kidding. I will declined the offer to come in. If you do not answer the questions there you heard so. How do you think your your career was born in the age of social media. Would you say that your career was born. Facilitated by social media has had how do you see social media changing the knife world. I mean just listening to like the market maker podcasts like they're talking about accumulative first names but like scandal and randall knives in like how kinda marketed it back in the day like it was all done via magazine magazine were mouth and i think i don't want to say that the amount of knife makers is really increase shirt paths but i think just the availability ability of seeing all of these nightmares really creased. There's so many knife makers who have popped up in the last few years. I don't know a lot of these guys on how long they've been doing it but i think social media has really brought a lot of us together and it certainly helped me build my career as a people as well. Yeah i mean to me instagram like you have you know i follow my wife and a couple of friends but other than that it's like it's all knives all the time and and you know that's that's the beauty of that. app in particular is that if you're a guy especially in visual any interest you have you can just follow that and i discovered you you. I discovered so many other people there. It's amazing it is it is almost scary. How many people it's connected me with and how many hobbies i didn't know i wanted to be part of watch. Collecting won't cars like fixed blade knives swords all that kind of stuff yeah things that i never thought to dabble in and then you see the one suggested post you might like this and then you go that whole rabbit hole the next thing you know making making new social media profile because now you're full blown woodworker yeah right trainer working out of the knife maker you know i really always knew. I needed a war hammer. I just didn't didn't know it until i saw it on instagram fifteen minutes ago so right now the knife industry where where do you see it now. Where do you see hit headed in the future in terms of the. I don't know the level of of sought perfection. It seems like we want so many options and everything has to be just so so. Where do you see things headed. How can things get better. That's a tough one. I mean i think i think kind of the rise of the production night. The high end production is like riyadh. I think that's kinda. Push on a knife makers to improve competing with essentially a perfect product and we're never going to match that level of quality some of us.

Can i mean you know the records randolph's lee williams of the world but i think generally never really gonna be able to compete with it. We're just gonna have to get as good as we can. I think it's gonna be a constant kind of level of improvement. We're all gonna have to keep improving. As long as we're in this business i don't i don't really foresee customize customize dying out at all in fact. I don't even really see the market getting smaller which is kind of a weird thing to say because production. I've certainly seemed like there's one hundred hundred. New production is for everyone new custom knife yemen. It just seems to be like there's a huge huge population of people who are we're just getting into them. whether it says like a an accessory you know what i'm gonna wear it. I mean what am i going to carry two. I've said that before to myself where where like i'm picking nati- you know when i met my knife drawer but yeah i think there are just a lot more people who are kind of you know with the help of knife writes in you know changing laws and stuff. It's kind of getting the stigmatized. It's you know the use and carry of knives is is growing further away from being acquainted with the use in carry area firearms which is a more polarizing thing. Everybody's had a pocket knife. Everyone uses a knife on a daily basis. It's it's a tool from role in the enter thrills. It's never gonna they get rid of knives. It's a silly thing to think so you said you will never custom. Makers will never be able to match that level of perfection but that's where where i come back with my soul argument yes but that machine will never have a soul it might it might have its own intelligence that customs never gonna die out. I mean some people wanna buy art. Some people want to buy something that's built by someone. I mean one one of my kind of like. I don't really advertise this because i don't people coming to my house but i oh love hand-delivered knives like my clothes but the best way to get me to build you night is a he man. Let's go have a beer at the bar like forty five minutes away from your house and i'll make in life we can go meet there and just have like a two hour conversation. Thanks to me that's like the best part of buying customized like a custom knife maker said hey in you wanna come pick this knife and we can grab some dinner and just chat for a bit like mix that night that much more special i picked up my one and only custom knife from the maker douglas esposito in his shop which resides in the back of his absolutely amazing brazilian jujitsu school out here in northern virginia and it was such a cool experience because i got to check out all of his you know tools and he had a couple of knives he was working out yet like in various stages his and we were taught you know we just had a great hour long conversation. He put a little a little english on the back of my blade for me and it was really cool as a great experience. Yeah we'll see something like that kind of comes from the hands that made it in the tasks into it yet another reason i think custom custom knives will never go away. Is that their prestige items and that's what people you know. You're talking about watches cars in any. There's a there's a base base drive to to have a nice watch and a nice car and all that but a lot of the times it. It's the prestige of owning it. You know like i'm. I'm the only one who has one of these. They are not in the in the whole state or whatever you know it. It's knowing that it's something special. You know. That took a long time to make a lot of skill to make aac. That's what will keep people coming back yet. I think that's a really good point. I mean even on limited limited runs of production knives. You're still not the only person that night customize literally. Each one is different and then owning it. It becomes a part of you. Ah starting to sound a little corny. You know no. You're absolutely right. I mean there's there was this odd knife. I built a while back and i think i know a knife. When i build it right like you. You kinda think to yourself. They'll make your nose is not the best. This country was having a problem or the pivoted sees like the blade wouldn't move anymore and i couldn't figure out what the hell is wrong. I i hadn't seen this night back three times and eventually i replaced all the hardware i sent him new pivot screws and everything and he reached that so as messing with it and a high turn the pivot like a certain way everything's perfect and if i turn a little more everything's wrong so he sent it back and i'm like trying to recreate unisom. This customer noses knife better ninety better than i ever will end this. He just like he fixed it like just turning the with a little bit. Everything was fine after that. It's still still find right now but i couldn't figure out the problem and he was just messing with his nightmare. He knows his work. You knows my work better than i know my work right right when you were building it in a sense it was a problem that you had to solve you solved it. Got it out of your life and when it came into his life it was like a joy and i think that he poured over.

I'm sure for a long time it became a part of him and that's why he was able to fix it anywhere. I think that's exactly it another big reason why i like going and custom knives i i know mine is i think probably better than some makers who made them do so how. How frequently do you turn out a new knife. What like what you're like. New designer look look. I'm sorry like your batch capacity you. Are you always working one night at a time or do you have do you have knives in different levels of development. I've got really bad the a._d._h._d. I cannot focus on one night for the life of me a anyone time. I'll have seven or eight knives going and i mean i might start one on april first twenty nineteen. I don't get to a certain point. I might not touch it again until august eighth. mhm like it'll just it'll just sit there collect collect picasso and he had whole studio paintings like that and some of them weren't ready for fifteen years. Some of them weren't ready for two weeks. The biggest fear is just getting bored. I do once. I get bored with the night. I have no motivation about to build it. Sometimes when you're working on a creative project any run into a block you you have to go and tackle some other creative challenge to to remove that block because you're forcing your your brain to consider something else and then when he come back to that the problem you'll see it with fresh eyes. I had to do that today. I i couldn't decide what what on earth to build oven. I have this whole list of knives complained after the u._s._o. Show in it's like i keep looking at that listeners like well. Maybe i should change this to this or this to this. Maybe i should get rid of that model this model in and today i probably spent two hours like i had a. I had a movie playing on netflix in the background my ipad and i'm just sitting there staring at my bench at at these two blanks just contemplating what to do like just two hours on because i didn't have the foresight set. Just get up lead. The shock guitar play with the dogs surrogate some launch if you think you're close you don't wanna waste that working time. You know if you think it's about to happen but that's the longer you sit there. The less likely to have ed multiple times that i design a wake up in the middle of the night or i'll be driving somewhere like mandy. You have to draw this out for me and that's how it all kind of comes was to like if i if i sit there at something for too long overthinking event that's when i started to really get in my own head get anxious okay so so you seem to approach it like an artist and i i've spoken to a number of knife makers now and some approach leg an artist and some approach it like an engineer and both you know obviously it's a it's a ven diagram where they they crossover deeply but you know some you can just tell are wired for for art. I mean the way everything you're saying. It reminds me of when i was an art school like fifteen paintings going at once though i can't what's going on here. I'll put something over here and eventually something will come out. That's the artistic approach and then there's the engineering approach which is the the order kind of right brain approach and and then the beauty comes out of maybe the utility of it so i'm calling you an artist. I hope you don't mind. I appreciate it. I'll accept that all right cool local but also an engineer and you're not making you're making in my opinion. You're making design. Kazaa is there just to be appreciated and this is also to be used superglue razor blade to a painting. It's usable but would you really want to yeah yeah exactly. It's funny. You say that 'cause i did that in college. In my my senior year thesis one of my senior thesis paintings. I glued razor blades to it because i was edgy. You know no pun intended. I thought i was end of the year. I'm taking all my stuff home and i'm packing up my car and i had rolled up. I'd taken all the canvases off the frames and i rolled it up and i'm . I'm shoving at throwing on paintings in the back of the car and as as this cylindrical rolled up painting go sliding down my hand five razors go dragging bragging across my right palm and and slice my palm open and and this is this was a long time this is over twenty years ago at this point point and it's still inches like concert nasal my damn this and i can still see the scar yeah at will eight before we close. Do you have seventy stupid knife stories . Have you ever done anything dumb whilst making a knife or casper stuff once so . I guess i'll start with my i guess custom knife. It was extend extent. It's balance on made by a good friend of mine jesse. Ma up new hampshire was a gift for my wife and and the dan got it. I was sitting on my bed playing with his balassa. Mean razor sharp didn't know a thing about. I opened it. Of course i'm not wearing shoes and it slips and falls straight through the hill of my foot.

I had to call it a work for like four days. It bled uncontrollably it happened and and i just slid off the bed palms down by whole body pressure on my my heel and i was probably like for like three hours and i don't forget the only thing that was going. My wife's mind was getting blonde all over the carpet doing that stupid knife stop. I listen to how my wife sounds those wondering right right of course maybe i'm not telling you so. Did it pin your your foot to the floor. I mean i know winning about quarter-inch right on belly was an inch long cut. I should've gotten stitches s._f. Like right where i can't show you but like right right where like an inch mike kelly's deal. Oh my god it was miserable. It was not fun yeah yeah if you that'd be happy it in slice that one time i was this was before i understood how mill i was trying to plunge a half inch end mill into thunderstorm kevlar kevlar which for those of you don't know is kind of like a tan colored kevlar with interwoven brass grants for those of you who haven't used brass or kevlar. Both of those interior really liked to catch on a on end mills and i was holding my left hand and i had the mill around one hundred fifty rpm and it caught in just dragged my thumb into moving half inch end bill at removed about three entrant my thumb. I've ground off pretty much every fingernail point. I've caught on fire a couple times. Damn man. I grind like black mask konia. I hope sent actinium italy bland. My arm looks like like a needle holes but it's just burns. I've got pieces of my fingers missing coney catching on fire there. You have advert. That's dangerous stuff. Yes it is not most fun so that's that adds to the prestige for the owner and also adds to the prestige of the maker man yeah ah i risk my life making this knife. He go buddy yeah. The maker wrist is his life making this night wife but definitely losing yeah okay. If you're not attended to you know could be cut myself countless times. I mean i won. Most frequent buses. I gotta ask is ian. Why why don't you sharpen your knives before sell like if you if you notice a lot of the knives at coastal my page don't have sharpened edges on them and that is because i will take knife part thirteen or fourteen times before like from the time. I say it's done the time it actually leaves all take part ten fifteen times. I i will cut myself every single time. The end user probably won't do that because they're not me but i'm kind of a klutz i will cut my comments of sharpening a knife like it's just bad. See your scar collector i am i got some pretty wicked scars while you know they're they're trophies. The trophies to your effort battle moons well ian karski of c._m._f. Metalworks thank you so much for coming on the podcast. it was a it was a pleasure to to get to get to meet you . I've just been admiring your work for a year and a half now and i'm like i'm glad i got to find out a little bit about what goes into making them. They're to me they're imaginative. They look like no one else has knives. the grinds are crazy to me me. The the handles in the materials and the processes. I'm you employ to to get there. I know are not automated so that makes it even more impressive so my my hat's off to you and thanks again for coming on the podcast. Thank you for having me. You know you're a night junkie. If you love your knives more than your kids welcome back to the knife life junkie podcast before we get the knife junkies final words wanna remind you that the get upside app is your way to get cash back on your gas purchases. Get upside as an app that you simply put on your smartphone and whenever you need gas search your area for savings clanger discount fill up your tank and all you have to do is take a picture picture of the receipt with your phone. That's it you've got cash back visit the knife junkie dot com slash save on gas. Get the app and start saving again. That's the knife junkie dot com slash save on gas baba as we always do. We give you the final word kind of a recap thoughts about your interview today with the with the perkowski of c._m._f. Metalworks looking at work and then talking to about just getting a little bit you know during that interview at it. It just occurs to me anyhow. There's no accounting for talent. You can have a desire to become something in work hard and put hours and hours and hours and hours into it and eventually become that but it it also helps to have talent and the having to have you know an artistic spark and i feel like when i see people have spoken to a number of them here on the podcast who have decided that you know maybe they were always a knife maker and just had to chip away the chaff to get to it and suddenly they just take take off and i feel like with with ian his work is just so magnificent kind of so quickly to me any in case that there has has to be a spark of artistic talent and and something in there that's a little bit more than just the hours but into it so also but also the desire a desire to do you it and desire to make a business of it that kind of thing so oh no doubt that that was the other thing you know another thing.

I admire a lot of the people we talked to. Here is a business sense. It's not someone being creative. it's not just the chaotic side which i have down. It's it's the it's the other side the ability to turn that into a real world a benefit to yourself you know and and to distribute your work and get your work made and i really respect that. It's not the it's not just the smart is not just the artist with his head in the clouds. It's the it's the well-grounded right to the old struggling artists gonna thank you actually making go of it. Yeah yeah all right. That's going to do it for episode forty but we what do we have to look forward to on on forty one . We're gonna be talking to tim. Reeve chris reeve knives second-generation taking over the taking over the company and bringing it into the future. We only have really great talkies great guide coming coming from a very interesting perspective looking forward to that everybody thanks for listening to the knife chunky podcast for bob demarco trim person thanks for listening. Thanks for listening learning to the ninth junkie podcast. If you enjoyed the show please rate review with review the podcast dot com for show notes for today's episode additional resources and to listen to past asked episodes visit our website the night junkie dot com you can also watch our latest videos on youtube dot com slash youtube checkouts great night photos on the night junkie dot com slash instagram and join our facebook group the knife junkie dot com slash facebook and if you have a question or comment emailed them to bob at the knife jokey he dot com or call our twenty four seven listener line at seven two four four six six four seven and you may hear your comment or question answered on an upcoming episode of the knife junkie podcast.


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