Michael Jarvis, Auxiliary Manufacturing - The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 391)

Michael Jarvis, Auxiliary Manufacturing – The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 391)

Michael Jarvis of Auxiliary Manufacturing joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on Episode 391 of The Knife Junkie Podcast.

Auxiliary Manufacturing, headed by Michael Jarvis, makes heirloom knives and tools for pocket and home. All made by hand in Reno, Nevada, by Jarvis. He is a full-time bladesmith and small business owner making self-defense, EDC and kitchen knives under the Auxiliary shingle.

After spending 15 years in the restaurant industry doing everything from dishwasher to executive chef, Michael started making pocket pry bars, and eventually knives, as a hobby.

Leaving the restaurant industry to help a sick family member, Michael’s hobby became a job, and with the help of his wife, it became a business.

The Auxiliary Manufacturing “Karl” model won best custom tactical knife at Blade Show West 2022.

Find Auxiliary Manufacturing online at www.auxmfg.com and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/auxiliarymanufacturing.

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Michael Jarvis of Auxiliary Manufacturing joins Bob 'The Knife Junkie' DeMarco on episode 391 of #theknifejunkie #podcast to talk about knives and his transition into full-time knife making. Click To Tweet
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Michael Jarvis, Auxiliary Manufacturing - The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 391)

©2023, Bob Demarco
The Knife Junkie Podcast
https://theknifejunkie.com

Transcript

[0:00] 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 Michael Jarvis of Auxiliary Manufacturing.
I met Michael and his wife and admired his work at Blade Show 2022, where his table presentation was welcoming and his knives, immaculate and purpose built.

[0:36] The fixed blades on offer ranged from culinary to EDC and self-defense knives, all of the same level of beauty and detail.
I was especially moved by the company's pocket dagger and a scalpel-like pick-all knife.
Because, you know, that's just my interest.
Manufacturing even makes an NPE. It's a dagger made of G10 for a carry in non-permissive environments. That's something I've talked a lot about here. So it's cool to see a company making a legit one. And one of Michael's knife models was recently awarded an esteemed international recognition. Well earned, no doubt. We'll find out about that and about auxiliary manufacturing in a moment. But first, be sure to like, comment, subscribe, hit the notification bell and download of the show to your favorite podcast app.
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Hi Michael, welcome to the show.
Hey Bob, thanks for having me. Hey, it's my pleasure.
I want to congratulate you, sir, on winning Best Tactical Knife at Blade Show West, Best, Custom Tactical Knife at Blade Show West this year, 2022. Tell me about that.
Thank you very much. I mean, it was an honor for sure, you know, and there's kind of a really funny story about it.
You know, I haven't really told it many times, but so whether you know this or not, at these shows you have to go and take your knife into submission.
You're not just choosing a random knife from what's submitted.
You have to physically take your knife up for judgment, which is kind of imposing on its own.
I feel like a lot of people don't do it just because of that.
But upon going to pick up my knife from judgment at the end of day one, the guy who had them, I forget his name off the top of my head, maybe Steve, looked over at his buddy and he was like, hey, does this guy need to be at the award ceremony?
And he was like, oh no, he doesn't need to be there.
I was like, oh, whatever, I'll go and drink free beer. Anyways, lo and behold, they called my name.

[3:21] I was like, oh, it's so weird. I've never met another Michael Jarvis.
This'll be so exciting. And my wife's like, what are you talking about? You go.

[3:30] And it's very surprising, to say the least. So what's the judging like? You walk up to it and they examine your knife in front of you?
They don't actually judge it in front of you. You take your knife and submit it for judgment.
Say maybe you have from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. to do that. And then they close the doors for maybe an hour or two while they make their choices. You know, the panel, I don't even know who it really consists of to be honest with you. And then they announce it later at whatever the award ceremony is, you know, in Atlanta it's in the pit of course and so at Salt Lake City it was at the Black Rifle Coffee compound. Oh cool. Oh that sounds awesome. It was a pretty cool party they threw. Man knives and coffee like two of my favorite things and Black Rifles aren't too far behind. That sounds like a good time. But so when you're bringing your knife up to, this is, So this is a this is something I learned at my first blade show two years ago, I just sort of presumed that there were judges trolling the whole place and like oh, that's exceptional and that but it's not like that you.

[4:38] You put yourself up in the competition and then they judge from there But do you enter into did you enter that into best for best tactical knife or did you just say here?
Here's my knife, what do you think? Okay, so they do have it broken down into, you can enter three knives into three different categories.
And they have factory categories and custom categories.
Among them, culinary, which I'm proud of my chef knives and they are not even close to the caliber of the knives that get entered into the culinary field there. We're talking the best of the best five, $10,000 knives, works.

[5:19] But the tactical area and another one that's very approachable in my opinion is non-knife tool.
For a lot of ex-custom makers, you know, I make something like called a pry thing or even the NPE, I think, is something I might submit as a non-knife tool in a future judgment.
Yeah, well actually don't glaze over it. Let's see that pry thing you just held up.
So this, just in doing a brief bit of research on you, this was your entree into knife making.
Tell us about that. Oh yeah, well before I ever made my first knife, which was probably seven or eight years ago now, I made pry bars and mainly pry bars, bottle openers, pretty much anything I could think of, steel, copper, brass, you name it. I was just looking for a way to, I don't know, I wanted to make knives but didn't really know how and I only had like cheap harbor freight stuff. So I was just pretty much making anything.
And at the time, Instagram loved people making stuff, you know, and there wasn't all these content restrictions there are now.

[6:27] So like I had 5000 followers on my account before I ever made my first knife. Instagram loved stuff like that at the time when people really ate it up.
It up. It was well before algorithms and all that were just showed you everything in the order people posted it. It was very easy at the time. So that really aided me a lot in solidifying what I'm doing now. So you were making knife adjacent items. So were you an EDC nerd or were you always a knife guy?
Like how did it come to the point where you just like had to start making knives instead of Pry things.
Alright, so... Ooh, well that's kinda complicated. I wanted to make knives well before I ever made pry things. I just...

[7:10] Didn't have the know-how, the chops, the tooling. So I just started kind of grinding on things, figuring out how to do little bevels, this and that. And I'd say within three months, I got anxious and just dove in. I built a brake drum forge, got some 1080. I heated my steel with charcoal and tested it with a magnet, dipped it in some oil. I just had to do it. I'm sure most guys started out the same way. Yeah, and throughout most of history and you know, we know from the Rambo movies, he did it that way too. They didn't have all these like highly calibrated.

[7:48] You know, all this highly calibrated equipment and yet they made it work. And I think that's.

[7:55] I think you're right. A lot of people do start off that way and I think it gives, you a real knowledge of the materials you're working with. Absolutely. And you know, there's no disrespect to the guys who buy a $15,000 shop before they make their first knife.
That's cool too if you can do that. I mean hell if I could have done that I probably would have. But you know starting with anything is better than not starting at all. Agreed agreed and and just making you know getting yourself familiar with the the sculptural part of making a knife. You know like you said learning bevels. I've noodled around and none of it is easy. I learned from looking at your, background and now I remember in speaking with you, you have a rich history in the restaurant industry and the culinary arts. Tell me about that. I worked in some restaurants and I've had some adventures in that world. How did that prepare you for this?
Oh, you know what? It didn't at all. I don't feel like anything I ever do in my past ever prepares me for what I'm actually doing now. It's just maybe makes me a little bit smarter.

[9:13] A little bit less likely to make the worst choice. Cullinoy definitely solidified my love for knives, and I have been working with a knife in hand since I was 13, you know, moving up from being a dishwasher to a prep guy in a little diner. From there, you know, restaurant to restaurant, moving up the food chain, doing my time in the front of house, back of house. A year or two after I graduated high school, decided it was time for culinary school, moved to Chicago. You know, at the time, being in the culinary field, a place like Chicago was the place to be. You know, I'm glad I wasn't in that field in Chicago while COVID happened or anything like that it would have been uh rough to say the least. I know a lot of folks who went through that and it was painful to watch.
Thankfully, you know, I was making knives and nobody lost an interest in those.

[10:06] Yeah, much to the contrary. I think there was a bit of a knife boom during COVID because there were a lot of people with maybe a little extra income and not spending as much money out there, sitting around doom scrolling knives on the internet, you know. Never done that before.
And you know, I I won't lie you maybe a year after you know, everything kind of died down people went back to life I made some excellent tool scores on Craigslist from guys who gave up whatever hobbies they picked up new drill presses You name it all sorts of great stuff popped up. Yeah, it was really like the end of the world people were like.

[10:45] You know, I don't know It's good to always plan to stretch yourself.
But sometimes, you know, you gotta stick within your nature and I think I'm gonna be a handy guy now and I'm just gonna get a whole bunch of tools, I'm gonna start making furniture.
It's like, yeah, well that sounds cool, but well, hey man, it's good to try something new and it's good to try something hard and it's good for you because your knife business.

[11:15] Was able to pick up a little bit of extra tooling for cheap and move up a little bit.
So the working in kitchens, did you have, you said you've been working with a knife in your hand since 13, were you bringing knives with you.

[11:33] At a certain level, like maybe when you're a chef level, do you start bringing your own knives with you, or were you using the stuff that the kitchens provided?
I carried a knife roll for sure. I really, a lot of my professional cooking work wasn't necessarily extravagant, but more high volume.

[11:55] So a lot of what I did, you know, I worked with a seven inch chef knife from a company called Mac for years.
I still have it. It's got a huge warp in it now from probably carrying around my backpack while I rode a bike to work everywhere in Chicago.
It had seen better days, but I cannot bring myself to get rid of it at all.
Well, that's, I mean, yeah, there's no reason to. It's got history.
It's got a life in it. I mean, that's, I think that's, that's what all used knives.
I mean, that's why I have a whole giant roomful. And that's a very small room full of a giant collection of old knives.
Cause I think they do really retain some of the experience of the work that they do and some of the, you know, experience of the person who holds them.
I don't know. Maybe that's a little corny. Not at all. You know, I feel the same way. You know, that's why I have so many old knives. I have all my knives and tools from culinary school and, especially the knives I used while at my professional cooking career. Cause.

[12:53] I worked at some really interesting places, did some really weird and interesting things. You know, a lot of the stories that I would have to tell, which could probably fill up multiple of these segments wouldn't even be available to, you know, 90% of the cooks out there.
I just happened to fall into such unique opportunities while cooking in Chicago that some really truly incredible things happened from, you know, meeting my favorite bands to hanging out with all sorts of celebrities, to being able to, yell at guys like Flavortown Man.
I forget his name. the guy with the hair.
Yeah, yeah. Guy Fieri.
Yeah, yeah. So he was in the restaurant that I was working in.
He has this thing that he does where he draws a little picture of himself in every place he goes to.
While I was managing at the time during the filming, I caught him and got to scold him.
Not that it really mattered. There was graffiti all over the bathrooms anyways, but fun little story I have to take away from him. That's awesome.
I hope you rang his neck. No, I'm just kidding. I love the guy. He's great.
I'm a little too big for my hands to be honest. I was talking with someone recently about expensive kitchen knives.
Now, you were talking about when we were talking about judging, you mentioned how the kitchen knives that you saw that were going up for judgment were just these insane and we've all seen them.

[14:16] Absolutely beautiful works of, you know, working art that no one uses.
Yeah. I mean, do you think or or it's just like when when the boss comes over for the annual dinner that you're throwing and you want to impress like I can't imagine, When you would use a $10,000 kitchen, I mean I probably would never and I probably will never in my life, To be honest, you know, I can't see myself making a $10,000 kitchen knife But maybe things shift and things change who knows, you know, I'm not much of a forge guy and that's obviously what that market demands is hand for George.

[14:54] Right, right. You know, integral and all sorts of crazy Damascus and you know, that's not my world.
I don't even pretend to know anything about it. Right.
But I gotta imagine there are certainly, you know, people buy Ferraris and dry them.
Why would you not use your $10,000 kitchen knife if you can afford it?
Yeah, you know, you raise an interesting point. It's just so outside of my realm of possibility that I can't imagine it would be hanging on the wall, you know, behind thick glass.
Right. My kitchen knife that I never use. So, is the kitchen work, there must have been a time where...

[15:28] You had to decide to take the plunge because this is your full-time job.
There must have been a scary time when you're like, restaurant or knife making and everyone thinks I'm crazy for doing knife making.
I was already doing it as a hobby, working 80 plus hours a week as the general manager of a restaurant bar.
A family member of mine fell ill, they had cancer, doing great now, beat it.
All good, but needed some help. So I was doing a lot of back and forth from Detroit to Chicago.

[16:05] And I just, I couldn't work 80 hours a week and do that at the same time. So I continued my hobby, which I was already making a little bit of money off of, and took more time to help my family.
And once they cleared up, the business was doing better. I had the opportunity to take it from a from a hobby to the next level.
And granted, it was very difficult. No way I would have been able to do it without the help of my amazing wife, who worked her ass off to help me, you know, pay the bills and do everything else, just to make it happen.
And it's, you know, finally at a point now where I'm so comfortable that, you know, thinking about walking away from this doesn't really feel like a viable option.
Oh, that's amazing. I love the family stories, you know, you and your wife, you know, making it work together.
I think that's awesome. I love hearing those kinds of stories.
How does it work working with your wife?
Well, you know, she has her own full-time job, which gets us insurance, which is very important obviously in this field.

[17:09] With me, you know, she's kind of like inventory management, make sure I stay on top of things, make sure, you know, stuff's paid by the date it needs to be paid. And of course, like the most important factors show back up. She really keeps me on my toes more than anything. She's more of an operations manager as her role.
Well, I mean, really, I was digging and that's exactly what I thought it was going to be because women are tend to be, I don't mean to paint with a broad brush, but detail oriented, you know, well, at least way more than I am where I work and certainly my wife is way more, you know, together we make a powerful force because every every duo needs a dreamer, and a doer and then also a doer and a organizer, you know.
So do you think that having that relationship in the business makes it a stronger business than you would if you had just gone out and gotten some random folks to work for you?
Oh, absolutely. You know, I've managed people in restaurants for so many years and I decided when I left that I do not want to manage people again. It's not satisfying to me.
Someone's always going to let you down. 100% of the time it always happens one way or the other.

[18:26] With my wife, I'm usually the one letting people down. That's fine. She accepts me for who I am and loves me still. But our dynamic with her strengths and my strengths and especially my weaknesses and her strengths really help get things done. We talk about a future where maybe she could be full-time with the business and it could be that way. I see a lot of other makers do it, Scorpion 6, and I'm sure there's plenty of others that are husband-wife teams. It's really, expensive out here in the West. I don't feel like this is the right place where we could do it, But we are planning on, you know, a move at some point in time just to justify doing that specifically.

[19:04] You know my shop is crazy expensive where we live is expensive you know and i see places in.
You know bum f nowhere where it's like a shop in a building and ten acres for like a hundred and twenty thousand doing here yeah.
You know so we talk about what will make me for five years will just live somewhere we don't really wanna live in just like.
Build, build, build, build, build, and not really worry about luxuries and how we're living and this and that.
You know, obviously we won't live in squalor, but we all make sacrifices to wanna see our businesses grow.

[19:37] Yeah. And so what if there's a mountain lion problem, you know?
You build a little hallway to the, no, I'm just kidding.
I grew up in Detroit, you know, I've dealt with worse. Yeah, right.
That's a fantasy of mine though, moving out to the country for sure.
I was born in Detroit, I was born in Dearborn. Nice.
So I've been back there a few times and my family lived there before I was, you know, before I grew up.
So I've always felt an affinity for Detroit.
Would you ever move back to Detroit? Oh, not Detroit. No, no, no.

[20:11] You know, from Detroit to Chicago, that was enough city for me.
We're in Reno. It's smaller now, but we live way on the outskirts and my shop is on the other outskirts.
My next move is going to be like where I cannot see my neighbors.
Okay, gotcha. All right. All right. Now, let me let me let's talk about your knives. So.

[20:28] The let's start with The Carl the Carl first of all great name.

[20:35] Well, we can talk about the name in a second, but I love this knife and it's it's got that that, Triangular blade and that handle with the thumb with the beautiful bird's beak for the thumb I mean, that's how I I see that knife tell tell me about this knife, the inspiration for it and and you know how you see this fitting into someone's EDC. I designed this knife very early on in my knife making career in Chicago I I had just gotten into my very first shop there.

[21:07] And a Chicago police officer met me at one of my events but reached out to me later on, and he said hey I have these designs I want to see brought to life so he brought me these three, cardboard templates all kind of like this but all a little bit different so I kind of melded them together into my current style at the time which you know became this knife. I wasn't even the the first few I wasn't even doing the texture yet. This came up maybe a year later. Designed it up for him. Funny enough, the name of the knife is the Carl. At the time, I don't know, maybe he didn't want to give his real name, but he introduced himself as Carl Hungus.
Some of you may get that reference, some of you may not. But I loved it so much when I found out the real name and got the reference and it all clicked that I had to name the the knife, the call.

[22:00] I'm going on seven years strong now, made probably about 300 or so over the years.

[22:06] One of my best sellers to military law enforcement by far. What's Carl Hungus?
I don't know the- Carl Hungus is a reference to a porn star in the Big Lebowski.
It's very obscure and I didn't even realize it.
And then he said it and it clicked and I was like, Oh, okay, oh yeah, and I found out that Carl's not even the guy's name, I didn't find out until afterward.
Well, so this got best tactical knife, but I'm betting most people are gonna use this for EDC and just for regular everyday use, whether, you know, whether, no matter what they do.
So it's, to me, I love tactical knives and I love fighting knives and that whole, You know, that's just my favorite genre.
I think that this design is cool because it goes back and forth.
You look at it and at once it looks very utilitarian, but it also looks just very businessy.
Especially the bird's beak and that extreme triangular blade shape.
It looks like, you know, a weapon.
So I love the combination of the utility and the weapon nature of this.
Yeah, I mean it certainly is.
A lot of people, I'm sure a lot of guys tell me that it goes on their kit or their plate carrier or what have you, whatever cool term there is for it.

[23:34] But I know a lot of guys, I mean granted I have one and there's stuff on it, but I know, a lot of people just buy the knife and carry it as is.
Take the sheath, put it in waistband. It carries really easy.

[23:48] Even better, I have the Carl Jr. coming out in just a few weeks, which is pretty exciting, takes this down to a much more manageable seven inches overall. It's going to be a really nice EDC carry, especially paired up with an effective industries in pocket sheath.
These are going to be very exciting to get these out.

[24:08] So I carry in the waistband here, and I love the discrete carry concepts clip. And actually, Here is a dedicated pocket sheath that I just happened to have on the on the table.
This is that Amtac Northman, but the the this is interesting.
It's inflexible, though, because if if I wanted to carry this in the waistband, I could. But with this clip, it's sunk so far down in my waistband that it would cut the belt on the way out or the the seam, whereas in the pocket, it's loose enough.
You can it can handle. So I love the in pocket option for fixed blade carry.
And when I look at your Carl, one of one of my one of my things I look for in a in a daily carry fixed blade is a rounded handle and somewhat short, but a rounded handle that will not interfere with my with my shrinking.
But albeit still their love handles and my ribs when I sit down in the car and that kind of thing.

[25:06] You know, because and to me, the Carl looks kind of optimized for the kind of carry I do.
It's certainly, yeah. And you know, it's so thin. Like, I don't know if you can really tell.
You know, the steel's an eighth inch.
You know, it's a really thin overall carry. And the biggest downfall to being EDC, what everybody told me is that it's just a little, too big. You know, it's a great full-size knife and a great kit knife.
But if you want to carry it every single day or tuck your shirt in or have some other options, it's just a little too big. And I think the Carl Jr. is really going to fill that void.
And to follow up with you what you said about the in-pocket versus on-belt.
I just can't quite master making the in pockets myself. That's why I get them from offensive industries and the way I do it Is when you get one from me you add on the offensive industries in pocket sheets You always do receive your two sheets, with the exception of the variant three knife that does only come with the, offense industries longer story there Offensive industries. I think I know their sheaths that they do a lot, they do a sort of somewhat famous ambidextrous model for Picol style knives, right?
Like, is that right? Am I thinking of the right?
That's correct. I mean, he does it for all styles of knives at this point.
You know, that definitely started with a certain kind of genre, but he's all over the place.
He does sheets for his own knives, which he's recently started making.
Does a lot of stuff for my knives.

[26:35] And I know he's doing stuff for a few other companies well, Wegener and MFBlades and a few other guys too, but he's definitely moving his focus on to knife making, so I'm lucky to have gotten with him while I did. He really does. His focus though on, It's solely for in-pocket, deep concealment carry.
And so for the coral, you know, the cheesy has me this much of a knife actually sticks out of your pocket enough to just hook on and draw.

[27:04] And I'll tell you, man, carrying a knife this big in your front pocket, you know, I wear five eleven and cool pants and all sorts of whatever stuff and all the pockets are big enough to accommodate big enough to accommodate that.
It is a game changing way to carry exploit in my opinion. You know, a knife this big, safely and readily held in your pocket is such a nice thing to, have.
Yeah, no doubt. And it's not concealed because it does peek out above the pocket.
So I know a lot of people might have legal issues with concealing.
I don't get into scrapes with officers often enough for it to be an issue with me, but, I do like the idea that that is an option if you need to show it.
So will the Carl, do you have a Carl Jr. close by?
Well, unfortunately I do not. I'm super picked over right now and spending all of my time getting ready for Blade Show Texas, which I feel like I'm kind of behind for.

[28:08] So like even if you went on my website right now, which I saw you guys kind of on there for a second, compared to how I normally keep myself stocked, it's pretty limited at the moment.
Okay, so actually before I move on to other knives, because I want to find out about some of the other knives, especially the Sume, well, I like a lot. I like them all, the bottle rocket.
I want to talk about all of them.
But with the Carl Jr., I'm interested in this because I really like the Carl, and maybe this is a self-interested, Maybe this question is out of self-interest, but if you could show the Carl, and then show me kind of how much smaller the Carl Jr. would be.
All right, so we have the Carl here, right? Gonna take about an inch off the blade. Mm-hmm.

[28:51] Narrow it down just a hair.

[28:54] Thin the entire handle out just slightly, make this divot here a little bit deeper, and knock this down to about there, round it out nicely. It's going to be a really, really nice carry option. But what I'll tell you is just have me on again, and I'll show it to you next time. Oh, beautiful. It's a deal, man. You don't have to ask me twice. Okay, so the one that I remember really resonating with me was the bottle rocket. I love daggers. I do not have a daily carry dagger, which seems strange. I mean, I do have a lot of double edged, curvy things and that kind of thing, but I have no perfect little dagger. And the bottle rocket really jumped out at me. Can you tell us about it?
So I can show you something in the bottle rocket family. Unfortunately, I'm completely sold out of my standard bottle rockets.
That's what I was grinding today actually. But I do have a bottle rocket XL with me in Serapim Micarta.
Now the thing about the Serapim Micarta is it does make it kind of difficult to see the facets on the handle.

[30:07] But I think you can get a pretty good feeling for it. And in my opinion, what I've been told a lot, as people finally hold these knives after they see them on the internet or on YouTube or wherever is that, oh, I've looked like, a really big blocky handle, but no matter which direction you hold this knife, it fits, perfectly into the hand.
And I mean any direction it locks right in.
And I spent a lot of time really trying to get this planned out for how these facets work.
And you know, it's, I'm probably gonna butcher this name and someone's gonna tear me up in the comments.
But you know, it's kind of a skidoo shape, you know, and this is signed up as a spell, but I think it's skidoo, am I right?
I don't know. I say ski and do. Perfect. That is now what I'm going to say.
So I kind of took some influence from that shape you can kind of see on the handle there.
And then the facets rather than rounding it really just kind of give it its shape, That it's really the whole rocket series has really become known for the handle. I keep building on it and adding new things, Single-edged versions and you know reverse spines and everything you can think of I plan on continue adding to it You know, this is definitely becomes a staple lineup.

[31:30] In what I'm offering right now You're talking about the facets on the handle and showing them off.
And I appreciate what you said, like, that the faceting is there instead of the rounding.
And really that... Everyone likes contouring and rounding, that feels good.
But when it's faceted like that, it really locks into your hand in a different way.
Where there's no twisting at all.
Sometimes I was going down memory lane with the old hollow handled fake Rambo knives I used to have when I was a kid.
You would wind up and whack at a tree and it would twist in your hand because it was a perfectly cylindrical handle.
The faceting in cross section, that handle is octagonal and that really gives you a really good locking.
Oh it does and then on top of that you know every knife gets a full bead blast and that you know even adds a little bit of additional micro texture and it really that little bit of additional surface area adds so much more grip when you're talking wet muddy bloody environments.

[32:41] So what oh that's cool that's nice. So sorry if you're listening uh Jim is scrolling through, the auxiliary manufacturing website and yeah, or the Instagram page and I'm falling for some of these, for all of these models.
I love this little runt. Before we talk about the rent, tell me about your process here.
How are you making these?
I see daggers, I see a lot of them and man, they seem like a real bear to grind.
What's your process? You know, not much different than anybody else's.
Water jet cut my stuff now, you know, once I started doing the daggers, water jet was mandatory.
You can't fight with this symmetry nonstop, you know. It's so pretty much everything I do now is water jet, with the exception of the kitchen stuff, but that's easy to cut out.
From there, you know, I do all my heat treatment in house, my even heat kiln, super easy, wrap it up, throw it in there, do a couple cycles a day. I can heat treat depending on the knives, between 10 to 20 knives a day.
From there, you know, temper cryo all in shop as well. Move on to bevel grinding.
And you have a little runt here also.

[33:55] Which you can't really see the bevel on this, but it's a nice almost full flat.

[34:01] All the work done in shop, you know, move on to bevel grinding, do my swedges.
Like I mentioned, I B blast everything, so I don't worry about the blade finish pre-handled.
Because I use all composite materials and everything I do is stable, so it can all be blasted and blackened and go through all the processes just fine.
So glue it up, knife's still real ugly at this point, it's not blasted or anything, you know, got my grinder striations and probably some heat treat oxidation on the flats.
Get it glued up with its handle, whatever it may be, Serrape G10.
Once it's glued up, I get it shaped, you know, whether it's faceting, this guy's simple flat slab scales.
Glue it up, shape it up, move on. I just got a beautiful new blast cabinet set up, so like that's the That's the best part of my job. Give it a good blast.
Uh, pretty much everything I do nowadays is stainless. So it gets a stainless blackening compound, a quick tumble, and we're, pretty much done besides an edge.
What, uh, what kind of stainless do you use these days? Uh, I use mostly AEBL, uh, nitro V here and there.
And I just now I have a big shipment of blanks coming in in MagnaCut.

[35:11] So you can expect to see some full-size curls and bottle rockets in Magna Cut first, followed by pretty much everything else.
Right, huh? Yeah, I know if I skimmed over that people would want to know what Steel's... But I want to get back to the making of the dagger in particular. So after you have it all, water jetted out, you're still fighting the symmetry, as you put it, when you're beveling those four bevels, right? Yeah, and so also when I started making daggers and I'll I make.

[35:43] Well over probably a hundred daggers a month at this point. It's a lot of daggers. Yeah. You know, it's a lot of my lineup and a lot of my inventory are all daggers. And once I really started moving to daggers did water jet.
That's what I also kind of I used to be hardcore, you know, free hand grinder die. Yeah, I mean, I was I would shout it from the rooftops three years ago. Man.
I jig all the daggers now. This is a business. I got a life outside of it.
I am not gonna keep throwing away money, wasting steel.
You know, nobody wants this knife with the, sorry, the bevels all the way to the center collapsing on each other. It's just, it wasn't worth it.
So I gave up, you know, all the daggers now are jigged.
It just, if you're a starting out knife maker and you're worried about anybody caring whether you freehand grind your knives.
99% of end users don't care. Maybe another knife maker did. Who cares what they think?
Do you make the best tool you possibly can with every tool at your disposal?
Use a jig, water jet stuff, you know? Be a smart business person and make your money work for you.
Pay for the things that other people can do for you.
You know, you wanna make stainless knives and don't have a kiln?
Have somebody else heat treat them.

[37:05] Figure it out, but you know, there's no sense in Lost my train of thought slightly there as well getting on my little I mean there's there's always someone more pure, Than the most pure, you know, well, I do everything freehand and well then there's somebody who does everything freehand, You know with it with with one hand tied behind their back here or whatever it is, There's always someone who's a little bit more pure So that's a silly fight to get into and I always you know, I went to art school and then I started doing filmmaking, and I got some pushback from my fine art friends.
We're like, what? And I'm like, yeah, the camera was invented like several hundred years ago at this point, guys.
I think we can adopt it.
A and B, if Rembrandt were alive, he would be taking advantage of all these tools.
That's what great artists do. And in this case, that's what great knife makers do.
If you're gonna try and make a business out of it, that is, You might be a hobbyist, you might have a career in a totally different line of work and really savor the making of knives, and not care about your output, but if that's your bread and butter, you have to figure out ways to be efficient in any way you can.
Absolutely, 100%. And I mean, and that goes for anything, whatever you can do to streamline your process.

[38:27] Don't worry about how anybody else is gonna interpret that.
Just do what works best for you. Cause those people probably weren't meant to be customers of yours anyways, if that's what you're worrying about.

[38:40] I spent a long time worrying about what other makers thought Instagram and this and that and, I didn't really come into my own of who I am, what I make, my style, which I feel like now is more pronounced than ever, until I stopped, and I hope I can say this, giving a shit about what anybody else thinks, you know? You're never going to please anybody all the time, so just make people who like what you do as happy as possible. Yeah, that's actually a very freeing thing that often comes with age, I think. But in this case, it's earned through, you know, work. And also.

[39:19] When you're working through something new and you're kind of earning your bones, you discover a lot along the way about, you know, why you're really in it and what you want to, express with it. It's not, you know, going into knife making is not like, I'm going to get my real estate license.
You know, it's not a practical move.
Um, it is, it is the opposite and, and it's a real sort of passion play and, and it's sad when it fails.
So if you, if you fail through lack of, uh, you know, creativity and process, uh, that, that would just, that would be terrible.
And if you failed because you were trying to make knives that aren't your knives, because you give a crap about what someone says, then you've also kind of failed.
Oh, absolutely. You know, I hate to use this as an example, because it's such a legendary guy. But you know, we look at Lovelace knives, and there are 1000 different guys that probably have an in progress Lovelace template knife in their shop right now. And more power to you. If that's what you do, you better do it really good, though. You know, in my opinion, it's much easier to find your own style and carve your own way, than to try to live up to any other standards that were set before you will buy anybody else.
Yeah, those loveless designs like the sub hilt, the Black Bear classic or whatever it's called the big sub hilt fighter.

[40:42] And then the shoot knife and his hunter and then the city knife, New York knife or whatever they call it. To me, those are like jazz standards. Those are like things that every bass players got to learn how to play every jazz band has to know, Ottoman New York or whatever it is. Well, same thing with certain a certain sector of knife makers, you know, the guys who produce the classics, you know, they, and I think that that is cool, keeping that it's like the Great American songbook, the Great American knife book, keeping those designs alive, I think is really cool. And that's kind of a different area of discipline in a way.

[41:19] Oh, absolutely. And I'm by no means bashing what these guys do. In my opinion, though, I'm just stating it's much harder to break into that market and be successful in it.
Your competition is so, so stiff. And I mean, like you're, you know, I'm making tactical knives, you know, sure, there's lots of guys doing it. But in my opinion, except for like, you know, guys like Bob T and a few others, none of the best knife makers in the world are really making tactical knives. They're making bowies and loveless designs and, you know, other stuff that high-end collectors want. Yeah, and to your point, when you're making those kind of knives and you're that kind of knife maker, you're being compared to all of the greats, including the original great.
Whereas, you know, with your knives, they are your knives, you know, so they're being judged, against your knives from last year.
And that's the best part is I just keep getting better. So like my knives from last year are nowhere near as good as the ones I do now.

[42:21] Just I don't know if that's good or bad, but it's good progress is great.
Yeah, it is. It is great because, you know, no doubt the old ones are are are good, too.
So there's a definite divide, not divide, but you have a range, let's say, and kitchen and then really, you know, pretty tactical.
I love tactical knives. You know, you've got daggers, you've got the push dagger, which I love. Actually, that's probably gonna be my entree because I've been looking for a push dagger that appeals to me for a while.

[42:57] So the Carl de Soume, which is your little Picol knife, it looks like a scalpel. Love it.
One of my most popular designs now. just go like crazy you know and they're so inexpensive you know the base models 125 and with Stingray at 150 currently.

[43:16] It's hard to not want to get one, you know? Like I still buy knives from other makers myself and, when I see something that's cool and small and affordable, I can't help but just jump on it.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Oh my God. Those, your kitchen knives are beautiful. But before we talk about the kitchen knives, I want to get, I want to talk about this tactical thing. And then you have the non-permissive environment knife, you know? So if you have to, yeah. So where does your love of, or interest in or, or, or, you know, why are you compelled to make this kind of knife?
You know what's so weird? I'm like a heavy metal guy. I don't know if you can tell, I got the beard and like I wore black and stuff. I love metal. I worked at a heavy metal bar for a long time. I honestly like my intention was never necessarily to make tactical knives.

[44:04] I just wanted to make cool black knives and they just so happened to come out purpose driven in a a way, you know? And now it's just kind of ingrained in what I do because I, like I said, I have my style much more defined. So it's very easy to come up with new designs or to alter things to meet my new styles better. But I by no means went into this initially thinking I was going to make tactical knives. Not even close, you know? Really the first ever custom knife I held was a It's got to be one of the first like 20 ever red horse knives.
Oh. Because he's in Chicago too. While I was in Chicago, I know Ed.
As far as I know, both Ed and I knew each other before either of us made our first knife because my boss at one time was his good friend.
Big Black, what's up Frank if you're watching. Either way, saw that knife, really made me like, oh, I can make cool knives for people to carry.
Have a style or anything yet. You know, my first bunch of knives were pocket cleavers. I love pocket cleavers. It felt like a good transition from the kitchen to carry.
Kind of silly nowadays when I think about it, but we all have weird transitions. What can I say? You know our teenage years, Yeah, yeah, right Um, you know now i'm very clearly defined in what I do. It's very easy to recognize something of mine from.

[45:28] Somebody else's even though they're You know i'm flattered to say there are now people copying things that I do. It's pretty cool. I guess, Yeah, I mean, I guess that means you've arrived when people start, um imitating you. I can imagine it's a little annoying. You know what, but with your knives actually, now that we're sitting here looking at them talking, do you have a Zumei near you, or are you sold out? The little Picol? You know, I do not have one, unfortunately. I think I might have one in my backpack, but unfortunately I don't have it here with me. I can scramble to find it.
It's all good. It's been up on screen and we can show it again, but really my point is, now I'm I'm splitting hairs, but the term tactical to me is too military for your knives.
I see your knives as daily carry self-defense, but mostly utility.
You're mostly carrying it. You're mostly pulling it out for that errant, thread on your collar to cut your sandwich and your apple and open that Amazon box full of other knives and this kind of thing.
And then on the- That's it right there.
Yeah. 100%. is all I really go for, you know, like, um, and tactical in my opinion is a well overused term, because in the moment, anything you have with you is tactical. You know, if I'm like out walking and I have like, uh, you name it, whatever some big silly thing in my hand, I just bought it at Home Depot. Like that's tactical. Now it's an assault rate, whatever, you know, like, um.

[46:54] The perfect term in my opinion to describe what I make, you know, it's, uh, knives to be used, You know, I told you I was never going to make a $10,000 chef knife.
Like I make things with the intention of them being used. And I do so with finishes on them that are easy for me to redo.
So when you send your knife in for a spa and a sharpen, you get it back and it looks exactly the same way.
Right, Jim is showing some of your older builds and I think it's interesting because you can see very old stuff right there.
You can see the experimentation going on, you can see the sort of germinating handle styles that are prominent in your kitchen knives these days, you know, the multi-material handles. These are all beautiful and they're all different and.

[47:41] That's another part of that. That's another way I can tell this is these are older works because because you can see you're kind of feeling out, learning your design language.
So each one of these I'm looking at, the handles, there's a lot of attention paid to them.
Tell me about the evolution of your kitchen knives, which all have a very, very particular blade.
They all look like the same model, but they all look like they're handled very individually, and they're beautiful.
Tell me about making kitchen knives and how that differs from the other stuff you do.
Oh man, making kitchen knives is a whole other ballgame, honestly, it's a pain.

[48:21] There's upsides and downsides to both, in my opinion. Making kitchen knives, in some senses, is easier.
Like my kitchen knives, I delete the plunges on them, so it's just one flat thing.
They kind of showed a few of them.
But on a tactical knife, you have a very defined bevel. That is not a concern on my kitchen knives.
The concern on my kitchen knives is does it have a nice distal taper?
Is the edge thin enough? Is the edge thickness consistent throughout?
The concerns, in my opinion, from one knife to the other, while it should be paid to both, the overall concerns are kind of different though.
The things that I really focus on on my kitchen knives might not be the number one priority on a carry knife.
A very consistent edge thickness isn't going to be the end of the world on a knife like this, or on a kitchen knife, you want to have one very consistent smooth edge to make cutting as smooth as possible.
So do you think with your years and years of experience working professionally in kitchens, that you're harder on yourself with your kitchen knives, or is it a different relationship to the making?
You know, are you looking for other things because you've used that kind of knife in particular for so long?

[49:38] You know, kitchen knives are also the only things that I still make that are one of a kind. All my other stuff, you know, there's probably one of a kind ones, you know, a bottle rocket with, you know, this one handle that I only did one time or something, but kitchen knives are the true.

[49:54] What are the kind of stuff that i still make we're talking multi-segmented handles intricate liner work very materials you know those are really.
The only thing i still do that way you know all my other stuff all the carls made hundreds of these in the same exact configuration aebl.
G10 textured be blessed black and tumbled you know for me personally the kitchen knives and you know the fact that i don't get the water jets my one last true.

[50:22] Artistic expression that I allow myself to have. If I went solely hardcore business, I would probably phase that out.
Cause let's be realistic, you know, 95% of my market isn't buying those kitchen knives.
They might not even buy kitchen knives. They may just accumulate them, you know.
The guys I know that have, you know, two gun safes full and a huge knife collection, probably have one kitchen knife in their closet. Let's be realistic here, you know.
Right, right. I've only recently been, I only recently got my first custom kitchen knife and now I'm like, what have I been doing all this time? So now that's a whole other sector of my knife collection, that I have to fill out.

[51:04] With the kitchen knives, do you take them custom, custom orders only or do you kind of make some and present them and then?
You know, I still take custom orders on them, but typically they're just making whatever I feel like.
I'm kind of toning down my custom orders, doing you know what five or so a month so I can really focus on growth in other areas. In my experience you know making one-off stuff is really cool and it's very exciting and in my opinion it makes your Instagram look a lot cooler because there's different stuff constantly and it's much more entertaining but you know in the time it takes me to make a single one-of-a-kind knife I can make three carls and three you know something else you know if If everything's the same, just is what it is, same process, same steps, it's much easier to move through that.

[51:53] So how has the, you mentioned Instagram on a number of times, how has the knife world, the knife community embraced you or how has your interaction with the community been as you have taken the reins and started this business?

[52:10] Nothing but positive. I mean, obviously, there's sour pusses among the mix, people that might be unhappy that I got an award or unhappy that I did this or did that or whatever.
But you'll find that everywhere. I'm sure you'll get hateful YouTube comments on your videos from time to time of people whose opinion you probably shouldn't care about.
But Instagram, without Instagram and when I started my Instagram specifically, I'm a firm believer that that was very important in my success.
Instagram I'm sure I would not be doing this at least with the volume I am today, much less full-time you know um and I think that probably goes for a lot of are other guys that probably started making, you know.
Five to eight years ago and kind of grew your business and your following on Instagram, which I know tons of us did.
Probably most of the knife makers that I would consider good friends now, I know because of Instagram and that's how we met and how we originally connected.
There are still guys that I would consider true friends that I would go well out of my way to help that I've never met in person.
But know through Instagram and phone calls and this and that and doing blade shows now I'm meeting them and it's really cool to meet them over the years, but there are still guys that I've known.

[53:26] For years and years that I might not ever meet but they're still great friends because of Instagram. Nice. All right So, um, I gotta know what is the knife that you would want to build like what's your ultimate build?
What do you want to make before you hang up your cleats and years and years and years? I'm glad I made this knife What is it? Oh a frame lock, but I want to do it this year, I don't want to wait years and years. I've been trying to build this thing forever. I'm terrible at math I don't know shit about machines. I'm a guy who just mashes metal into a grinder. So like.

[54:01] Making a folder has been difficult. I have a box full of garbage prototypes material that I've wasted over the years.

[54:08] I'm gonna get it this year though guarantee it. Well, don't know.

[54:13] Want to try real hard though Well, what's cool is, you know, actually linking it back to my question about the knife community, There is no shortage of.

[54:24] You know generosity out there Really you can ask so many people, you know, I've heard this so many times from so many people, I have learned through asking other people and they tell me their secrets and they know.

[54:38] Bob Terzowula can tell you all of his secrets. You're never going to make one of his knives, you know. Those secrets just might help you though get over the hump that you're needing to get over.

[54:49] You will and it will happen this year. I guarantee it. All right, man. Well, if I don't, it's on you and you won't.
You got to live up to it. No. Okay. So where do you see auxiliary manufacturing, which by the way is a cool name. That's a good name for it. But where do you see, auxiliary manufacturing, you know, at its pinnacle. What do you want to see the company become?
You know what? I just would like to be my wife and I living on a big piece of property.
Nice shop doing our things, doing the shows and just.

[55:21] Living our lives without anybody else telling us what we need to do or where we need to be.
You know, that's why I really love doing this.

[55:30] You know, I love knives, but people ask me all the time if I'm like passionate and look, it's a job still calm down. okay? I'm passionate about fishing and my hobbies and things that are fun.
And maybe if I wasn't doing this to literally make my living, it would be a lot more fun.

[55:46] That being said, the reason that I never want to stop doing this is because I don't want to have a boss again. Being this independent is truly the best gift I've ever given myself. You know, as long as I have enough money to pay my bills, I don't feel like working. I'll go fishing because because it's a nice day out and I live five minutes from the river.
Or, you know, when I get to the shop and it's really hot that day and it sucks, well, I'll drive up to the top of the mountain that's right by there, Peavine Peak, and I'll eat my lunch up there and look down at the shop and then nice cool breeze.
It's just cool to be able to...

[56:19] Have ultimate freedom to spend my time as I want it because time, you know, is the only thing none of us can get more of.
Oh. Couldn't have said it better. Well, thank you so much, Michael, for coming on the Knife Junkie podcast.
I really appreciate it. And I've enjoyed talking, well, with you and also checking out your knives and talking about where where they all come from.
It's been a pleasure. I mean, I look forward to shaking your hand again at Blade Show Atlanta for sure this year.
Not Texas? I won't be going to Texas. No. Okay. Can I plug Texas guys? Come see me. Table 12 E.
Blade show Texas. It's going to be a great time. Got some really cool stuff.
Blade show Texas 12 E. Thank you so much, man. It's been a pleasure talking to you.
Hey, I had a great time, Bob. Really appreciate it. My pleasure.
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[57:37] There he goes, ladies and gentlemen, Michael Jarvis of Auxiliary Manufacturing. Go to his Instagram or his website. Well, definitely follow him on Instagram. But check out the broadhead, his push dagger. And let me know what you think because it's a chisel ground little masterpiece.
And boy, he's got a couple of cool handles, some antique micarta handles on them. So I just might, be entering a push dagger phase. We'll have to see. Please join us again next week for another great interview and Wednesday for the midweek supplemental and of course don't forget Thursday, for Thursday Night Knives 10pm Eastern Standard Time right here on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch.
For Jim working his magic behind the switcher, I'm Bob DeMarco saying until next time, don't take dull for an answer. Thanks for listening to the Knife Junkie podcast. If you enjoyed the show, please rate and review at ReviewThePodcast.com. For show notes for today's episode, additional resources and to listen to past episodes, visit our website, TheKnifeJunkie.com.
You can also watch our latest videos on YouTube at TheKnifeJunkie.com slash YouTube.
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[58:53] And if you have a question or comment, email them to Bob at TheKnifeJunkie.com or call, our 24-7 listener line at 724-466-4487 and you may hear your comment or question answered, on an upcoming episode of the Knife Junkie Podcast.

[59:08] Music.

 

 

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