Joe Flowers, Bushcraft Global – The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 350)
Joe Flowers, owner of Bushcraft Global, joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on episode 350 of The Knife Junkie Podcast. An avid outdoorsman and instructor, Joe is based out of the mountains of North Carolina, yet his ventures take him all around the world searching for animals, and learning primitive and survival skills.
Joe has always had a love for cutting tools and their use outside, and began writing for Tactical Knives magazine, as well as Self Reliance Illustrated, Backpacker magazine, Swat magazine, Survival quarterly, Backwoodsman, New pioneer, Master Woodsman, Equip 2 Endure and American Frontiersman.
His love for machetes and the outdoors teamed him up with companies like Condor Knives, and his machete and knife designs are well known throughout the knife and outdoor world. Joe works frequently with TOPS knives, a U.S. manufacturer and one of the official sponsors of Bushcraft Global, designing for them and brainstorming ideas.
Recently, Joe also started designing for CJRB and Artisan Cutlery. As a knife designer, Joe Flowers has over 150 Knife and equipment designs for various knife and outdoor companies.
At Blade Show in Atlanta, Joe teaches Blade University bushcraft classes. Recently, he was asked to be a Subject Matter Expert (SME) at the 7th Special Forces Group, Jungle Warfare Symposium on jungle survival in 2022. He also is a Wilderness first responder, beekeeper, and karate black belt. Joe also does private expeditions, training, and fixing for video or training opportunities all around the world.
Be sure to support The Knife Junkie and get in on the perks of being a Patron — including early access to the podcast and exclusive bonus content.Joe Flowers of Bushcraft Global is my guest on episode 350 of #theknifejunkie #podcast this week. Knife and machete designer, and avid outdoorsman and instructor, it's a great conversation I'm sure you'll enjoy! Click To Tweet
Joe Flowers, Bushcraft Global
The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 350)
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast.
Your weekly dose of knife news and information about knives and knife collecting.
Here's your host, Bob the knife junkie DeMarco.
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast.
I'm Bob DeMarco.
On this edition of the show, I'm speaking with professional adventurer and guide knife designer and survival expert Joe Flowers.
In the world of wilderness, survival Joan is known.
Joe is known as one of the world's greatest jungle guides and survival instructors.
And in the knife world, he's known for his robust, efficient and quite handsome working designs with Condor tops.
And now – CJRB. I've wanted to talk to Joe for some time now.
Not only to adventure vicariously through him, but to talk about his designs, which seem inspired by traditional tools while maintaining a modern appeal.
Joe's just recently back from another voyage to the Amazon, and I can't wait to hear about it.
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Joe, welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast, Sir.
Good to have you.
Hey, thank you so much for that very warm introduction.
Definitely not an expert because that means I'm done learning.
And as far as one of the best survival jungle guides, I don't know about that because the guys I train with, you know, their five year olds can out out, you know, perform me.
Well, let's talk about that.
You're you're I know that's a you're humble bragging or just being humble, I should say, but you're just.
Back from the jungle, and I want to know what that's like.
I see the pictures, but what's it like being there?
So I kind of just got back what is today, Wednesday, like maybe Friday night I'm there.
And and so I still have, you know, different cuts and things that affect you out there.
But the jungle is just so rich in resources all around, especially if you have tools that you can use to manipulate the environment around you.
Which is, you know, a quintessential thing for bushcraft and man.
It's just like being at a grocery store.
There's paracord on this trees, there's different types of wood for you to carve and actually really use your knife, you know, for a reason and have all these different skills that you can learn more about yourself with in places.
Just immersion central for that.
You said actually using your knife, I mean, so when you're out in the jungle, well, what's it like when you go down there?
Are you living with people in primitive areas?
Are you camping out alone?
What's so the traditional bushcraft global trip that I've started with my friend Tanner Boca Knives consists of two days of, like, acclimation on our natural reserve, where you get like the slow MO jungle instead of hey guys, here's.
The whole bucket of National Geographic, you know, dumped on you and you sleep in beds.
We go on night hikes to show you some of the dangerous things.
Then by like the third day, you know, it changes every year.
But by the third day, then we take our kits on our backs and go to the jungle.
And just do a lot of crafting, hunting, primitive skills, culture, sharing with like 6 different tribes for like 6 to 7 days, just depending on the season and what's going on.
And then come back, have a big party, do some tourism stuff for two days and then come back home.
But it can be as ******** as you want it to be.
Or we can, you know, tone it down and make it really easy for somebody so you don't have to be a tough Mudder.
What is crafting?
So you're making stuff down there?
Can be anything from slingshots to forks to Cook says, which are types of cups all the way to bows that you have to make that are small.
But Umm, and basically you have to go use for hunting later on.
So you make these small little palm bows and then you're able to go.
You think you're making them for a kid, but no, you're going out and hunting for big fish that night.
And it's really fun and intuitive too.
Wait, wait, what did you call them?
A palm bow?
Yeah, I'm trying to see if I have.
So there's a rich history of different types of.
Poems that are out there and this one would be black palm.
So it's a really, really it's actually using knife handles a lot too.
So you make a a small bow and you go fishing with it.
Or, you know sometimes we'll dive into the lake and get clay from the bottom of the lake, bring it back up and make our own slingshot balls to fish with or will mount them on a on a slingshot.
So you're doing Sling bows because it's actually almost easier to make the arrows for that then the fire, the slingshot bows or to fire your own clay balls.
So yeah, you get to do all sorts of fun stuff, trapping, basket making.
This was a basket that was made on one of the trips.
We this one's really elaborate, though.
This one's actually used for sifting flour.
But yeah, so there's a lot of knife work and, you know, sometimes we do things where the different tribesmen will go, you know, hunting for different types of animals.
This is like a blow gun kit that they would take with them.
And in there is their BIC lighter, which is this basically in in this, which is fire by friction.
And poison blowgun.
And they'll go out foraging for animals and we can watch, you know, depending on which tribe it is.
And yeah, it's really, really cool.
So these are some very primitive, I mean, this is, this is more like primitive culture stuff than it is primitive survival.
I mean, obviously survival is kind of baked into it, but it's going beyond when you're building beautiful, intricate flower sifting baskets like that.
That's pretty amazing.
And no matter what I mean, you're doing a lot of cultural immersion, but you're also.
You know, doing a lot of foraging with your bare hands, you know, spear fishing, different types of trapping things along that, that line too.
So there is a survival aspect in man our our last trip was one of the most.
Dangerous animal rich areas that I've ever seen.
You know, there were big spiders everywhere in in we saw lots of snakes.
For once we never see snakes, but we saw like 6. By the third day I'm there.
But you know, after the first day everything kind of leaves and and you're good to go.
Intuitively I'd think snakes are everywhere in an environment like this, but also you said big spiders.
How big spiders?
As big as your hand?
But most of them are friendly.
You know they're there are some aggressive ones, but they do have that.
They're the one that's mythical.
I will remain blissfully unaware.
No, I'm just kidding.
What is the banana?
But what is the banana spider?
What is it?
Where you have the same problem with Viagra?
I think it's called pre apsis for like 24 hours if you get bit by 10. Goodness.
OK, so they're actually researching it for Viagra and stuff too.
But yeah, those are all over the damn place.
Well, I mean, you could wander into the into the jungle and end up having a good time, you know, without even knowing it, you know?
Yeah, well, you know, that's we all.
So there's this guy tanoka knives who lives down there, and I actually have some of his knives here.
Hold on one moment.
Got one of the old school ones and one of the new ones.
He's like my business partner down there.
This is a tops 10 of Boca Puco, pretty popular right now.
OK, so I recognized his name when you said it a couple of times, but that's why.
So I kind of got him linked up with tops to start making some of his designs and there might be some other companies later, but this is some of his original stuff that you don't see.
Yeah, it's really cool.
And Junglee, check out that sheath.
Oh, that is cool.
And and the sheath is like a it's bamboo, right?
This is this is the same stuff you make some of the bows out of black palm.
OK, and what's the handle made out of on that knife?
This is a type of bamboo that's actually indigenous, a bunch of different continents.
I have the name written down somewhere, but it's just bamboo that's really solid.
It's very interesting with those tiny segments.
So how in in, in your, in your experience, how important would you say creativity is in staying alive in the jungle, man?
I mean, I think that's important, you know, anywhere, not even in a survival scenario.
Creativity is important at work.
Creativity is important everywhere.
There's so much life down there that everybody becomes very creative with just things as simple as a plastic bag.
Or or a plastic bottle like grim survivals, plastic bottle, cordage maker.
And you know when when you're more innovative and have a. I guess it creative skill set.
You're able to think outside the box and maybe survive a little bit better.
And that increases your survivability anywhere, even at the the workplace, I guess.
Yeah, what what was that courtage thing you were talking about when you were holding up the bottle?
So let's see if I got one here on the table.
This is a grim survival cards.
And so he's got these dog tag.
Courtage making devices, and there there's a way you can actually do that with your knife.
Creek Stewart talks about it in his survival hacks book, but this one actually makes courtage out of bottles.
So yeah, it's really cool.
Grim survival does a lot of this, you know, improvised stuff.
This is one of the cards that I did with them based on a lot of primitive skills, stuff that I've, I've learned.
And when you give these like, someone like the Matisse tribe or something.
They can do anything with it.
They can take a broken piece of glass and you know, be able to gut an electric eel.
So it's really fascinating to see them work with like high quality tools and and cool knives.
So the tool set on your card here, it looks like a like a spear for a spearhead for spearfishing, maybe it looks like a war Cliff blade and what else is on there?
So there's a tick puller, nothing original there.
That's just one of those flat card tick pullers.
If you look down here at the bottom this is a scoop that we would use for scooping out divots and bowls.
It works OK you have to like really slowly bend it around like a branch or a a like a battery.
But the Matisse like to use it flat to scrape bows.
This is kind of neat.
This is based off of a shark tooth right here, a shark tooth drill to make you know small holes and things like trap triggers and then this guy.
This spear took a little bit of finagling.
Works a lot better than it used to because the Barb would rip out of the stuff.
But you don't really get a chance to to test that stuff until you give it to somebody who's good with it.
You know, I'm, I'm OK, But you know, some of the tribesmen who I work with, even the modern guys, can still shish kabob a fish way, way, way better than I can.
Tell me about this.
You call them Matisse, tribe?
Is it Matisse?
So where exactly?
Not exactly, but where are they?
And tell me about about this tribe and how they live.
So if you look at National Geographic magazine, you'll sometimes see a Matisse on the front cover.
They were first contacted in 1975 and then became more more or less contacted in the later 1979 Ish era.
They've done a really good job keeping their culture.
And we we talked to them, we have different trischen who come before the time of clothes, for instance.
You asked him about clothes.
And they're like, man, we would put them in the Hut and say why, why would they, why would they wear these?
They smell so bad.
And so they'll tell you stories about that.
And then we have a few other different tribes with the Matisse are like the old school OG guys.
Do they remain that way today?
I mean, in terms of clothes and everything, are they?
Walking around in there, very, very traditional garb or have they adopted some of the Western?
They they do both.
You know, we try to ask them to remain in their traditional.
We don't have to ask them honestly.
They're very proud.
They they put on shirts to go to, you know, town and put on hats to go to town to keep them protected from the sun.
But when they're in canopy, they just have their traditional like T-shirt style garbs and stuff.
It's not like super religious, but they like to wear it when you first meet and they'll keep it, you know, on them for most of the time.
I wear some of that, you know, around my neck too.
But they also, you know, won't have the bones in their nose all the time because it's uncomfortable.
And they wear pants and shorts now.
And, you know, sometimes they'll be wearing watches and things.
It might be upside down and not working, but they'll still wear it.
And so, yeah, they're they're still pretty traditional.
And if they get cold, they'll put on a sweatshirt, you know, just like anybody else now.
Have you brought them modern knives and what what kind of blades were they working with before you brought them modernize or your your knives?
So you know they're working with a lot of your traditional trementina style machetes, which would be like 1075 high carbon steel and then you know, a lot of just broken butcher knives and thing, which is like a low grade, low grade 420 HC or J2 or something like that.
So they're used to stuff that they can manipulate.
And and so they're, you know, always grinding and making it a little better.
And so it sucks when you bring like a $300.00 knife.
And Alberto, the Yukna can like out carve you with this broken butcher knife because they're really good at it.
But so they started seeing some more of the high carbon stuff when I started working with them them and we're kind of impressed with edge retention.
You know, we tested Magna cut down there this year and I had great results, but the.
The tribes are you say, OK, it just looks like metal, you know, they're not like, oh, this is some crazy Excalibur steel or you know, anything along that line.
So the magnet cut, you know, is, is, is kind of like the top of the the thing when they got to see some magma cut knives out there.
And what about?
What have you learned from them in terms of what is?
Well a in terms of your knife skills, but also what is desirable or most necessary in the knife that you're going to have, you know for kind of a do it all survival knife.
You know, it's for, for them.
It's not necessarily the knife design because you can give them, you know, anything.
We brought down a we had a Flint napper bringing Obsidian and they showed how they would just use a rock to carve out you know, different types of fish.
So ergonomics is important for long term stuff.
That's definitely something I learned on the polar N machete.
I don't have one near me, but I learned all about the choil spot near the top where, you know, sometimes people like to use a machete very, very easily and and that is a big deal.
Let's see here.
Oh, I got something.
The sort of long handle, right.
If you're looking at it, it looks a little bit like a longer machete handle.
OK. And and so I'm starting to look at a lot of machete designs.
And this one's not necessarily a machete.
It's made by a machete company.
But I didn't really appreciate, you know, that spot there so much until lately when I've been watching a lot of the different manipulation that the that the indigenous would do when they're, when they're utilizing blades, such as in this, like, chef.
You know method and and so I pay a lot more attention to that and ergonomics now when I'm when I'm designing some larger you know heavier tools so that knife you have right there looks like looks it reminds me a little bit of a barong from the from the Philippines so I know a lot of the knives that
all of the knives that you're experiencing are these.
I'm sorry the name I know I have some machetes from this tower.
Nina, what is it?
Truman, Tina, trementina.
Are they from Brazil?
I think maybe, yeah, but they also have a they also have a company in.
A fabric, a factory in Columbia as well.
And then I work for Condor to a knife whose parent company is.
Emma Casa, which you can see on the blade here, and.
It might be able to see it right there in that thing, but yeah, so they make 40,000 machetes a month.
Yeah, they're they're pretty big deal for machetes.
The second biggest machete manufacturer, the leading one, would be probably trementina.
Wow, my gosh.
Well, I know down in South America and Central America, I've been down to Bolivia couple of times.
There's lots of, lots of people have machetes.
It's just part of what they do and how they how they work.
And you know, I like that.
I like walking around and seeing machetes though.
I've never been in a situation where where having someone else having a machete made me feel threatened.
I could see where that's a possibility for sure.
But you know, that's not how I see these things.
You know, in, in, in in the US, kinda gonna get on a soapbox here.
There's a, you know, not, not a lot of love for machetes because machetes are more or less a poor man's, you know, tool.
It's in an area where people can't afford like a John Deere tractor is something.
They're on mountains where they can't get the inclines for different types of tools or it's just a a lesser expensive tool.
So when you see it, it's going to be more threatening, you know, in in England.
Where they have much stricter knife laws.
You know, when they saw me swinging the machete, they were like, whoa.
And you know, I never really thought thought that way so.
You know, because I go down to El Salvador and in South America and stuff, it's such a machete rich culture that I become G8 and just walk around with machetes all the time because I'm used to them and and understand why people have a lot.
So, well, you can do a lot with it.
First of all, we got to talk about that before you put it down.
That's that's wicked cool, but you can do a lot with a big knife that you can't do with a small knife, right?
Of course, there are some things you just cannot manage with a knife that size, but there are most you can from food prep to, you know, chopping down a tree.
What is this?
This thing is amazing looking.
This can do a lot of big knife task in some small knife task this is.
The mid macara by Condor 2 and knife from a designed it this year for 2022. It's a smaller version of the macara machete made out of 1075. High carbon steel with the distal taper and two handed.
A grip, just in case, but actually very lightweight, but more just a type of machete so that you can.
Have a little bit of self-defense related with it, but a lot more usability too because it still keeps that Latin, you know, curve that Latin, but still having a little bit of a Japanese appeal.
Man, I gotta say, Joe, this is really beautiful and Oh yeah, you're welcome and very desirable especially with the like you said it it it it the way the blade widens out has that sub tip and everything.
It has a bit of that tanto appeal, but at the same time it looks all business like, I mean work business like you could do a lot in the in the brush with it.
The thing I was going to ask, oh, I don't have it, it's in the other room, but I have the.
The old golok machete.
One of the one of the first valiant ones.
Oh, the old.
OK. Yeah, it's it's a beauty.
And but it is thick.
It's like 1/4 inch thick and no distal taper.
So it's a big.
It's a beast.
It's something you shop like.
It's not for light grass.
Let's just put it that way.
Yeah, you should you should see the change in their stuff now because they've now, you know, distal tapered it skeletonized that they know so much more.
Sometimes they see some of the original stuff and it's mind-blowing.
Oh, I I I have some other stuff by them too that, like, I have their Norse sacks, which is just so cool.
It's a it's a really cool knife.
It's my, it's my sock drawer knife.
No, but they make.
What I was going to ask you was this one that you were just holding up.
What is the blade stock on that?
So this is 1/8 inch thick.
So much thinner, much more manageable, and has a distal taper to get much thinner.
So it's much, much lighter than you think, and we tested this out in the Amazon jungle a lot, and we really have to make sure that distal taper is there because it puts less flexion.
On the handle.
Because if it doesn't have the distal taper there, all that, all that flexion will go to the handle and can create a problem.
Oh, oh, that's interesting.
So so the the the fact that it gets thinner towards the tip puts some of the pressure more towards the tip than that.
Oh, that's interesting.
And so you can still do like a full Tang and still keep the the smashed rivets on there.
But of course I'm going to be researching the heck out of that and having distal tapers of different, different.
Go locks out there and things.
So is this available right now?
This year is.
I believe you can get it off of knife Center Blade HQ.
Most of the the knife places here.
How did you get into this?
How did you get into going down, going to the jungle, roughing it, learning all this amazing, all these amazing skills?
Well, you do you guys know who Essie Knives are?
Well, this is this actually goes goes out to them, because this was one of Mike Perrin's original bench made a FCK's and he just recently passed away.
But he sent this to me a while back, and I remember reading about this in Tactical Knives magazine.
That's why I have my own.
I don't carry that one because I don't want to lose it on my own, a FCK from back in the day.
But I read Tactical Knives magazine a lot and.
Loved it, you know, as a kid and was on the forums a whole lot, you know, in college while I was doing zoology and entomology and started writing for Tactical Knives magazine itself because that was outside actually doing stuff.
And then I started getting a little bit more popular in the knife world, and one thing led to another.
I walked up to Condor tool and knife because I really, really liked machetes and they wanted to hear more about some of my designs.
And at the same time I started talking with tops Knives and Mike Fuller, who also has passed away.
Took me in with my first design called the Shango.
So between tops and and Condor kind of started out there from the, you know, newspaper world of knives and then, you know, worked my way to here.
Umm, and so there's other designs, I think.
Let's see here.
Tops doesn't make the Shango anymore.
They have this guy, the Brock e-mail that I designed for bushcraft global.
This is one of my beaters.
So it's all messed up.
You should see the one that's still smells horrible.
In the garage, it's gotta, like, sanitize everything.
But John, jungle smell.
Yeah, it's it's great.
My wife loves it.
So I didn't really like go into, you know, the knife world, knowing anything about engineering.
I just got very, very lucky to to be, you know, here where I'm at now.
And with Essie they were the first guys who I went to the jungle with.
Adventure in training.
Adventure and training.
In all in in the models.
OK, so you went down with them and did that spark your love for.
I'll just the shorthand.
For I mean, for all intensive purposes, I've got all these bugs which I love, you know, reptiles everywhere.
Really big blades and all of that smashed together.
And so it was just natural heaven for me.
Plus, I really enjoy heat.
You know, I'm scared of cold weather, so it was a natural for me.
I did pretty well, I would say, in the jungle down there.
I mean, I did just as good as everybody else.
It was a really fun time.
So then I happened to be on another expedition where I met Gorin of Tanner Buchanan Ives.
And I met him because he owned this eco reserve and he knew about this Matisse tribe who he hangs out with.
And I was like, OK, well, I can bring people down here and we can do some survival stuff with some of the other tribes.
He's like, OK, let's do it.
And so that's kind of how bushcraft global formed.
I have cuts all over my body right now from it cuts, you mean from going through Bramble and that kind of thing?
Oh gosh, yeah, everything down there, it's just, it's just get a braided.
Everything's trying to kill you down there basically, right?
Or maybe not on purpose, but yeah, doesn't have something specific against you, but you know, it's hard.
This was one of the safest strips.
Even though we had in the most dangerous animals around us, nobody except for Gorn tanoka got bit and we tell people, you know, the scariest thing is that people want to live down there after they're down there.
It's just so resource abundant that like you're not just you just you can't help it being pulled in.
What is the weirdest thing you've experienced in the jungle?
Let's see, there's a bunch.
With, uh, I would say possibly being stalked by a Jaguar.
Yeah, I didn't believe it until he showed me what he said were footprints in my footprints.
But we were out there, me and Yukina tribesmen.
He was looking for monkeys and all of a sudden the whole entire jungle gets quiet.
You know, I turn on my GoPro and thinking I'm going to get some cool footage and he goes take out your machete.
Umm, you know, it's just going to take off the the blowgun will just tick off the Jaguar like, OK, so then he pulls out a a leaf and starts doing a little toucans sound.
And the whole entire jungle, the whole entire jungle gets dead quiet.
I was like, oh man.
And then about like 5 minutes later, it just gets loud again.
He goes, OK, it's gone.
And I'm like, come on, man.
There was something here.
What was, he goes, possibly Jaguar that just smelled us and ran away and walked around us.
And I was like, no way.
And so he comes and shows me a footprint and there was like some kind of pop for an indentation there.
And he's like, there it is.
And I believed him.
So then we got back to camp and he's explaining to Gore and goes, it was either a Jaguar or El Duende, which is like this forest gnome creature down there.
And I I couldn't believe I was like.
Build wendayne goes ohh cause the ground looked like it was swept.
It's just like the weirdest thing ever.
That is funny.
El duende that that is a. There's a whole family joke that I won't get into here that revolves around El Duende because I'm married to a woman, a Bolivian woman.
OK. And and El Duende was it was a thing that they scared them with when they were little.
Yeah, yeah, there there is a lot of that down there, which actually comes into knife work, too.
They got something called 1/4 pita, and there's different tribes with different renditions of of this monster.
This isn't actually the court of PETA, but this is, if you can imagine a mask that they would make a decimalize each of the gods or each of the monsters.
But there is creature called the copita down there is kind of like a Bigfoot.
He's got his legs turned around backwards so that when you think he's coming after you, you think he's running away and like, he's just rapey Bigfoot guy who like gets you really lost.
And so if you think you're getting lost in the jungle, you have to sit, basically do the stop thing, which is stop, think, observe and plan where you sit.
You think you carve this little puzzle with your knife, say take out your knife, and you're working this crazy little puzzle and going back and forth and it forces you to think about your situation and where you're at.
And you make this little crazy trap puzzle that's all really, really odd, that folds back together and you put it on the trail and then you're ready to go home.
Because it traps the Court of Pete and he starts looking at it, trying to figure out how it works.
They got a bunch of these little traps that are all knife and machete work that kind of teach you to do that.
So really neat to see that kind of like survival attitude, you know, put into a mythical cryptozoology critter.
I mean, and that's a great way to teach kids all those skills too.
It's like, yeah, hey man, if you if if you want to get stalked by Al dwindle while you're out there or or if you want to stop the quadrupedal from from chasing you down.
You you carve this little, this little parlor trick and he picks it up and he's a wild man of the forest and he can't figure this thing out.
Yeah, there's a whole there's like leaves that aren't split that like dangle together and and all this other really like technical stuff.
I've got some videos at some point I can send.
Yeah, they're pretty incredible.
But, you know, that's just like one way, you know, cultures are using knives all the time.
And I think that really, really excites me and really interests me to see that around the world.
Uh, lessons have you learned from, from your experiences down there and the and the time you've spent down there that you can or that you're bringing back up here for people to sort of normalize more and more?
Knife enthusiasm, ownership, uh, you know, excitement.
I know knife rights does a lot in, in terms of the legal thing, but there are also, I feel like social hurdles that can always be overcome.
Is there anything that you've garnered from living down there and spending time down there that can be imported up here?
Yeah, you know.
But it's really actually an interest of mine to see, you know, blade use.
Enter anthropologists wise.
There's a woman who records young kids like, they're young, like age 3-4, using machetes, just like their parents.
And so they they've got videos of this and this lady is showing, you know what we would consider something crazy.
So when you see people using some of these, you know, tools and knives and stuff, Umm.
It makes you realize, hey, you know, getting out there and really learning how to use the tool.
Almost as more important than the what blade you're using itself.
And it's it's like that old saying.
It's not the, it's not the.
It's not the bow, it's the Archer.
You know, these these guys, he knew amazing things with, you know, broken pieces of glass and it's very humbling.
As someone who you know by comparison is just a rabid materialist collecting knives because I just because, oh, good, good.
It makes me feel, Umm I don't know what the word is maybe?
Maybe I don't know.
But I see these guys surviving and doing.
Not just surviving, just living and thriving and and using their knives all the time.
And I and I and I like.
I wish this is going to sound crazy, but I kind of wish that for my knives too.
It's like I have this collection of knives that sits fallow a lot of the time, and I wish I were out there using them impression, pushing them and getting my money's worth out of them other than just that enjoyment of like, owning art.
Yeah, you know, and I and I feel that especially from from writing, you know, I've got probably 3000 knives behind me in drawers too.
And a lot of them are safe Queens, you know, so it feels like, ohh I'm I'm doing a disservice.
But you know, they they are pieces of metal with the story.
So there is, you know, that sentimental balance you have with some of the stuff and even, you know, like the the Condor terrorsaur.
You know, you can get it for like $40.00 and there was a really beat up one down in in South America and I was just like, man, I've got to have this, I got to have this hairy one of the tribesmen let me buy it from you and you would not sell it to me.
Even for twice as much, because you become attached to some of these things, even if they're, you know, beat up and all that.
But it's OK to have like 50 of them.
I got so many.
Yeah, I like hearing that.
I like the number 3000. Hopefully you weren't exaggerating because it makes me feel better.
No, I mean, look at this.
This AFC has barely been used, so it's it's, you know, and then I've got a prototype, too.
That's not going to get used at all.
Oh my God.
Oh, that is awesome.
Oh, this is my prototype.
Can I see it?
You don't know?
Can we see it, though?
This is the Condor.
Speaking of cryptozoology, yeah, yeah, there we go.
And and you can see that the blade is a little bit too high here and trying to do like a a scandi blade.
And this is a knife podcast, so I'm like, oh, I don't even have to rehearse anything really get into it because it's more like a. A pocket knife, you know you don't want that thin of an edge on there.
So I saw some stuff in the prototype form that we had to change for the groin.
But there's prototype in action which the the grind on top is the more desirable one.
Is that right?
The new one we went a little bit high with this.
OK. So so that so that doesn't the high one I'm sorry, gives you 2 shallow and angle for a proper Scandinavian grind is that is that yeah or you know just.
Very, very thin edge that you have to watch out for.
Oh, here's a test for my GoPro camera.
You might be able to see a chip there.
I can see it.
And that was done during heavier wood testing you know right off the bat.
So you know they're they're Condor is trying to learn how to do a folding knives and this is like their second folding knife that they've done.
They're really trying to dial it in now.
I I I think it's an admirable pursuit.
It's like tops.
You know they've spent they.
Spent a long time kind of in R&D and they'd they'd say, oh, we're going to come out.
You know, they had a couple of aluminum tactical knives which were cool, but but when they were really penetrating the the bushcraft market with the, with the brothers of bushcraft knife at that period of time, they first they started coming out with the folding version of their 2.5 neck knife and
it was like a, you know, it took him a long time and they made promises and they had to break them.
And I respected that because it's like we're not going to put out something until it's ready and you can see that.
Umm, happening with Condor here I have a question for you and you are the perfect person to ask.
What is the benefit of a oh what is the benefit of a scandi grind?
So scanning grinds are great for fast sharpening where you can just get an edge very very fast.
It's great for woodworking, it's OK for meat processing, another type of processing stuff, but for a lot of bushcrafters they love scandi grinds.
Because it penetrates wood, you know a lot more, so these scandi grinds are able to take off large chunks of wood while you're while you're working.
I'm sorry, let me just interrupt.
If you're unfamiliar, it's Scandinavian grind and it's a basically a 0. The bevel is the edge.
Yeah, OK, sorry, just in case anyone.
And the other cool part is that people don't really talk about much is that scandi grinds can be customizable.
If you need to put more, you know, meat behind the edge, you can micro bevel it and Strop it and make it a little bit harder.
If you have to get it super thin, you can really work it very easily on like a diamond stone.
To get just the type of edge that you'd like, and if you need to, you can modify it and make it a secondary bevel really quick if you're going to be doing heavy stuff around bone.
So that's why scandi stuff is popular.
I did not even think of that, about how you can adjust the type of edge you want.
I remember when the brothers of bushcraft knife came out, I believe it was that knife.
People, people got there.
Well, I can't say that people, people got upset because.
Ohh, the Scandi grind has a micro bevel, yes.
Yeah, and people got a little upset about that.
Do you remember that?
Oh yeah, yeah.
I was probably one of the lead guys to convince them to go to scanning the evening grinds and was one of the brothers of bushcraft guys.
But the problem was it would be with the thickness that they first started with the skin in the evening grind.
They they they couldn't get it just right.
And the other problem is a lot of people don't know how to take care of a proper perfect skin.
I've even been to Lt rights Scandinavian grind class up in Ohio and they put micro bevels on there.
It's about the only company who doesn't is more of of Sweden.
So the secondary bevel is, you know, pretty important.
Let's see here, I've got a. This is pretty classic knife.
Not my design.
A Skookum, one of one of my favorite knife designs out there.
This one's by Rob Garcia.
And if you look very closely, it's developed a secondary bevel, so that sometimes happens, because if not, you know, and you keep it very thin, you're going to have a chunked out, you know, scandy edge.
Unless you keep it perfect all the time.
And you know, yes yes I I only have of of a very small.
As a matter of fact, it was two down to one because I gave my Bush lore to a friend's son who who camps.
I was like, well, here, take this, because you'll use it and I I don't.
But the the remaining scandy blade I have is over there.
That's why I'm looking over there.
It's one of the old red handled moras.
Yeah, of course.
I love that old knife with the single quillion down and and that's kind of a shop knife.
This this room double s as like a do everything room and I. Notice that because I've really tried desperately to maintain that perfect scandi edge, and I thought it was something I was doing, but but yeah, it's getting all chipped up and I think it's because it's lacking that, that secondary edge.
Yeah, I've got like a a bag of 30 or 40 morals that I use for classes that have chipped up edges because they don't have that secondary bevel.
This one doesn't have it.
I know I've got one probably chipped here, but even even the Skookum has tiny little microchips, you know, in it as well.
So, you know, there there is some cases where scandy might not be so desirable.
This terrorsaur is a fiddleback forge terrorsaur with a very high flat grind, and that's also very, very applicable for wood carving.
And a little bit stronger too.
And you'll see that in some tops knives.
In Condor Knives and Becker knives as well, like the BK, the BK9 has a very high grind with the secondary bevel.
Man, just looking at that.
Fiddleback Forge with such beautiful knives they make.
So this is like variations on the the terrorsaur, which is one of condors more popular knives, right?
That's your design, right?
So this is.
Maybe 2008, 2009 with the Fiddleback Forge or, I'm sorry, off the map custom knives.
And then this one's by Andy Roy of Fillbach Forge.
And that was around 2010 as well.
So that's those versions.
And then this one is?
The Condor Polypropylene handled version how cool.
So you can kind of see the progression and when they came and asked me for one of their.
Polyprop, I'm not doing a good job here, cameraman.
When you're trying to do like a. They wanted the polypropylene knife that was like very, very robust and I was like alright, this one's tried and you know proven.
I also have a Dogwood terrorsaur as well.
He just came down on the trip.
Yeah he in and it's actually all funky in the garage too, but dog would custom knives is a knife maker.
Yeah, we just had him on the show's excellent.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
So he went down for his like 6 times 7th maybe time down there and and just came back too and he was testing.
Romex as well.
I saw him on Instagram getting beaten with reeds or something like that.
Yeah, that's the mediavine ceremony.
That's a a ceremony that the the Matisse tried does, but they need knives, you know, in order to do it.
Yeah, but a lot of stuff, a lot of the rituals, they're based on pain to get you through some of the hardships of the jungle.
And so that's one of the rituals that you'll see, like on different production magazines and things like that.
It reminded me a little bit of one of those Russian massages you see in the in the mob movies.
What Jim was just scrolling through a a web page with a bunch of knife designs.
And sorry about the website guys, by the way, it sucks.
No, no, no, don't worry about that.
I mean, it's it's sort of a known that that people spend a lot more time designing and making knives than they do with their website, but but it looked like an entire line of related.
Knives with some really nice designs.
That Scotia knife looks like a Canadian belt knife to me that that Mayflower is actually collaboration between Charles May and myself.
It should say it.
Oht should say it's somewhere on there.
I'll find it later.
But he was sitting around the campfire.
Was like, Joe, we have to collaborate on something.
Custom knife maker.
OK, so are these knives all available?
Are these things that OK?
So who produces these?
So El Salvador produces Condor.
They're kind of like my the, the company.
I'm like the the most loyal too, because they helped me get started and and tops, of course, is mainly US.
Every once in a while we might have to get like a parts from different other countries.
I also designed for CRB and artisan cutlery.
They're actually made in China.
I really wanted to work with powder Steel and so they're proprietary.
Powder Steel was like kind of like 440 C but like on on supercharged power.
Yeah, the a RPM 9. That's an awesome deal.
I love that stuff.
It's been performing great, you know?
I'm like a user.
I'm not gonna sit there all day long and try and get one hundreds on my sharp device over there, but I can fix it in the field, which is really important to me and I and I think that's what's actually the best part about this.
Let's talk about this design for a second.
I was watching videos right after Blade show where you were talking about this.
And also there's another one that I want to talk about too, that you have coming out from CRB.
But tell me a little bit about this design you you mentioned.
In that video that you use this a lot, you tested it a lot down in the jungle, but to look at it, it's a much more.
I mean, it kind of looks like a kind of looks like an Italian racing boat, you know?
But but it's got the, the cutting, that cutting edge has the lines of, you know, a machete, a barong, something that's reaching downward.
So you're getting that sort of efficient angle.
Tell me about the design of this.
It just seems very different.
So he wanted something Russell from Artisan, wanted something that was very lightweight and very.
Joe, which is kind of funny because I, you know, designed so many different things I it's hard to have one, one type of style, but there are ways they could do things that some of the other companies I've worked for weren't really able to in the budget range that we wanted to.
So like bevels and different types of war, Nate back handle designs, that's where it came from.
For the bevel, it's eye-catching.
You'll see a lot of movie knives have big bevels like the Rambo.
Are you talking about the of the big the fuller there?
Yeah, the fuller blood groove, you know, not bevel.
I meant to say Fuller, but it's also to take out weight.
It's got a very high hollow grind, almost flat grind, if not flat.
I think it actually is flat.
I've looked at it with my flat thing over there, in, in, in, tested it.
It's if it's any if it's like a hollow grind, it's like a wheel that's like this big.
But, uh, it's very, very high.
So it's still able to bite in the wood.
It hasn't really fractured that much, even with some of the harder woods out there.
And then the handle is is skeletonized.
What this one has, the actual skeletonization is made into tools.
The ones with the handle do not have that, but they do have big holes and channels to take out weight and it's very, very, very thin.
So the whole idea was so that it can be put on like a vest or around a belt.
Or underneath the hip belt on a backpack to where it won't, like, gouge into somebody.
And in the a RPM 9 steel, you can have it on your waistband of your like shorts when you're out in the water and there's no problem.
I I called them pajama knives.
Knives you can yeah.
This to me looks great because it's so thin and I carry a fixed blade in the waistband at 3:00 o'clock.
And I have a very suburban lifestyle, so this looks like it would Nestle in quite nicely, being so thin.
And then looking at it, I, I I was looking at that fuller differently.
I mean, I know it's it's weight relief, but I was thinking also like the i-beam effect.
Does that add rigidity?
And for the kind of stuff you designed knives for these kind of ******** tasks, would that rigidity come in handy?
I was, I was thinking that might be structural.
It could be that whole i-beam.
I'm not an engineer.
That whole i-beam argument has a lot of pros and cons.
It would be structural in the fact that once again, I'm not an engineer, but it could either be like a point where it's going to take a lot of the shock away.
But that's again why the the back of the handle is skeleton nice.
So as far as structure goes, it's been fine with light batoning, you know, we haven't sat there and tried to multiply stab, you know, like a brick wall.
But Umm yeah, if if the structure thing holds up, which I'm always, you know, apprehensive about, then.
And the pommel has that weird notch.
What is that?
Is that a tool?
It was supposed to be originally sized for a pocket rocket stove, but we had to change it up a little bit.
So now it's like a different way to open up a bottle or just a notch for doing different things where you use a notch.
I don't know how to explain it, but even, like, lighting paracord and then pulling it through that, you can get like small little thin.
Threads, the thread through buttons and things.
You just start using all the stuff that's on there.
So it did have like a better idea but it's it's turned into that.
Well naturally my mind went to bottle opener and then I thought what other uses and yeah I was thinking like you know the wire stripper on a Swiss army comes in handy for a lot of stuff and and they we wanted to have that pommel on the back that you normally see with the, you know machetes out
So that way, you know, it has a little bit of a jail flair.
But also you can grab it with maybe mittens on a little bit easier or pull it out if it's like a neck knife.
Just a little bit easier to give you just a little bit more purchase to really make it, you know, a good four inch ish, you know, bushcrafting or or outdoor blade or even tactical blade.
Yeah, the black one looks sweet.
And then there's, there's a kephart and and Rex Applegate walk into a bar and, yeah, it comes out.
So this is, you know, when when you're designing knives, you know, just to make sure you don't.
Get no ruts sometimes.
I learned from Ken Onion one time at Blade show.
You know, sometimes it's fun to design a story, you know, instead of you know, just going ahead and designing a knife and and one night I was just thinking, you know combinations of people at at bars and so Rex Applegate and and Horace Kephart, you know, and I got to touch horse kept Arts actual
So it's pretty special to be able to incorporate that with the.
A refreshing look on the design and and we use this down in the jungle this year.
It did great it the Matisse didn't screwed up.
So I'm pretty happy with it as well.
For those who who might need a refresher who are Rex Applegate and and and and Horace Kephart.
Horace Kephart is kind of like the grandfather of the Great Smoky Mountains.
He was a very big writer back in the early 1920s.
Wrote for field and stream, had his own knife design, had a couple of other things out there.
Came out with the book Woodcraft and Camping and Colonel Rex Applegate is the kind of one of the guys behind the Fair Band style fighting knives that are out there.
Wrote the book I believe Kill or be killed, a book on knife fighting.
So you know knife fighting guru guy.
And so that's kind of where the idea comes from.
So you got this beautiful dagger shape but it's also the cutting edge of a kephart.
I think it's a I love it.
I love it because well I love daggers and I'm I happen to be on a little dagger tear right now excellent as as one does but this.
Yeah it's very, very appealing to me because it's got the you know I definitely love weapons and it has the weapon the appeal but.
So it also is purely practical too, and knowing that it was in the hands of of the Matisse and you and and other.
You know experts in the in the jungle and and being used and it's not just a an interesting story.
That's the best part.
Yeah you know this this still there are so many new steels out there, man, I I can't keep up with them now spydercos got H2, which I can't wait to try out and and and all this but I've been really impressed with all powder steels that I've had so far.
It's just neat stuff.
So how how do you find through practical use?
It differs from, say, you know, 1095 or 154 CM.
If we're talking stainless, man, you know, it almost depends on on the steel, because some of them don't like to even be strapped.
Some of them like to have like more of a toothy edge to work like H1.
I just learned, but it seems like it's.
Less toothy and keeps more of a of a of an edge that doesn't bind on on wood and I barely do any carving out there.
This is just like OK carving, just the carve to see what would happen.
I'm actually not a great Craftsman out there, but.
It it it it stays.
Like polished sharp I guess would be the way to say it's not like binding like some of the more higher carbon steels?
OK. So uh, is this.
This is the Rex Rex Heart Reckart rec rec chart.
So the so the reckart and so are they both available now?
Reckart just started shipping now and the other one is called the Hyperlight.
Yeah, I feel like one of those.
Flea market people peddling their wares.
One of those late night.
Yeah, and this one, I guess.
Joe, can I get 70 of both of those for like say 29 bucks?
Can you send them?
OK. Coming straight from and we'll put it.
We'll get a free bandana too.
So what are what are the.
So everyone just just take note.
Both of those knives are are live.
So so you can not only get Joe Flowers designs from Condor.
Plenty of them.
And tops, by the way, I was looking at your Condor Bowie the other night, other night, really beautiful and tops.
But also now CJR B Slash artisan and work tough cutlery here in the near future and hopefully some other stuff too.
Yeah, they are so cool.
I got to find out more about them.
They're they're pretty cool.
You know that that company, it's neat because, you know, everybody's like, you know, I'm not going to get a sediments or politics or anything like that, but you know, everybody's like, oh, it's another, you know.
Asian knife company.
And it's like, no, this company was started by a guy who was a huge knife fan 1st and then happened to be in Taiwan and started this knife company.
So he was a knife nut first, who started this company, not wanting to start the company and then, you know, get get into knives and then got savvy, right, right.
And then there's nothing wrong with that either, frankly.
But so, yeah, that's exciting, but where, where are you taking this?
What do you want to do in the.
What do you want to do with your life, young man?
Do you want to do in terms of a knife designs?
How how do you want to expand your your your knife involvement Umm well you know trying to do more design work for other companies is always nice.
A couple of other ones I'm going to try and go for but also trying trying to learn you know more about bout knife making knife use and and even just taking classes all around the US when I can that's.
Kind of next step is to really understand why, you know behind making some of these designs and things that's not just in the US too.
I'd like to go to Nepal and find out about the queries and and go to Indonesia and of course goal parade and crazy.
So you know that's that's the next step is going to the cultures where they're you know this I just you know one of but small area South America you know where where people are using all these blades every day and I want to see you know other places around the world what kind of cool stuff they can
Ohh man, it's a rich, it's a rich environment out there.
Best of luck to you in that regard and and we will check back in with you.
How can people check in with you?
Follow your your exploits.
OK, so my website will be getting updated.
Sorry guys, but mostly on Instagram, Facebook, bushcraft, global YouTube.
When we get around to it, really doing a lot of stuff right now rather than trying to you know, do do the promotion thing.
So Instagram, Facebook.
YouTube probably tick tock here in the near future, because everybody seems to be going that route and and all that stuff too.
And then of course email@example.com.
And don't forget Q and Knife Center and everywhere that sells your designs.
Yeah, of course.
So, so condortk.com tops knives, all of the big knife places, smoky Mountain knife works.
They're having Rep weekend coming up, so a lot of the knife guys will be out there.
So yeah, there's there's a bunch of stuff, you know, coming up.
Georgia bushcraft, if you guys like knives and you want to see knives getting you getting used, come down to Georgia bushcraft.
It's a huge event.
Like up to 500 people.
Miss November, Georgia bushtraffic.com.
Well, Joe, thank you so much for coming on the show.
It's been a real pleasure meeting you and absolutely about everything.
So I hope to see you back here sometime soon, but absolutely welcome back stateside, Sir.
Thank you so much.
It's been a pleasure being on here.
Thank you so much.
Where can we find out more about Knife Junkie podcast?
Knifejunkie.com, of course, is a good place to start.
And YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, and all of the Facebook, all the podcast apps.
Do you have a Patreon too?
Oh, we do the no cookie.com/action.
Thank you, Joe.
Look at that.
I'm just getting into learning about these Patreon things.
I joined Ed Edd's manifestos and was really impressed.
Oh yeah, yeah, he's he's cool.
Uh, alrighty, Sir.
Have a great one.
It's been a pleasure.
Ever Strop a knife again, even though it gets no real use, face up to what you are.
You're a knife junkie.
There he goes, ladies and gentlemen.
Joe Flowers learned a lot in the last hour.
Uh, very interesting, man, I gotta say in that intro, I said, adventuring vicariously through him.
And now, now I want to.
Now I'm going to light out for the territories, I think.
Anyway, it was a real pleasure talking with him.
Be sure to join us on Wednesday for the midweek supplemental and Thursday for Thursday night knives, 10:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, right here on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch.
Until next time for Jim working his magic.
Behind the Switcher my name is Bob DeMarco.
Begging you, do not take dull for an answer.
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