Eric Tuch, Tuch Knives - The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 421)

Tuch Knives – The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 421)

Eric Tuch of Tuch Knives joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on Episode 421 of The Knife Junkie Podcast. Tuch Knives is a father-son business that makes some of the highest quality, heirloom-grade handmade knives in the world.

Under the guidance and mentorship of Butch Vallotton and Tim Herman, William Tuch acquired a skill set that is unmatched by many other makers when it comes to making automatic and art knives.

Eric has been working alongside his dad, William, for the last 10 years, soaking up invaluable knife making wisdom. The company logo is a picture of a young father and son hand-in-hand.

Tuch Knives makes what William and Eric love to make, intricate and ornate, useful and durable, with full creative freedom. Tuch Knives will be giving away one of its beautifully intricate folders along with $5,000 in a blockbuster giveaway aimed at hooking up a fan with an otherwise out-of-reach knife.

Find Tuch Knives online at www.tuchknives.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tuchknives, and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/tuchknives.

 

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Eric Tuch of Tuch Knives joins Bob 'The Knife Junkie' DeMarco on Episode 421 of #theknifejunkie #podcast. Tuch Knives is a father-son business making high quality, heirloom-grade handmade knives. Click To Tweet
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The Knife Junkie Podcast is the place for knife newbies and knife junkies to learn about knives and knife collecting. Twice per week Bob DeMarco talks knives. Call the Listener Line at 724-466-4487; Visit https://theknifejunkie.com.
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Announcer [00:00:03]:
Welcome to the Knife Junkie Podcast to your weekly dose of knife news and information about knives and knife collecting. Here's your host, Bob the knife junkie DeMarco.

Bob DeMarco [00:00:16]:
Welcome to the knife junkie podcast. I'm Bob DeMarco. On this edition of the show, I'm speaking with Eric Tuch of Tuch Nives. Touch Nives is a father son team that creates some of the most intricate, artful, luxurious modern folders that I've handled. They feature exotic materials painstaking builds and next level action, whether automatic or not. I had the chance to handle the 5 or so lottery knives they brought to blade show this year and really look forward to finding out from Eric how these things are made and how it all got started. But first, be sure to like, comment, subscribe, and share the show. That's a great way to to help out the show. And you can also download it to your favorite podcast app. And as always, if you'd like to help support the show monetarily, you can do so by going to the knifejunky.com/patreon. Again, that's the knifejunky.com/patreon.

Announcer [00:01:08]:
Do you use terms like handle the blade ratio while and tall, hair pop and sharp, or tank like, then you are a dork, and a knife junkie.

Bob DeMarco [00:01:18]:
Eric, welcome to the knife junkie podcast, sir. It's good to have you. Hey. Thanks for having me on. It's a pleasure. Congratulations on a successful blade show 2023.

Eric Tuch [00:01:27]:
Yeah. I appreciate that.

Bob DeMarco [00:01:29]:
So tell me how it went. I met you there and had a chance to see your hand see your work firsthand after following it on Instagram for for some time. Tell me how the show went. Yeah. It went really well.

Eric Tuch [00:01:44]:
It's always fun to to go and and and catch up with old friends and and put faces and names from people that we have interacted with over social media over the years and You know, sometimes you meet someone and you're like, oh, you're not. What do I expect to at all? But awesome guy, like, yeah, it was really cool. I got to connect with a lot of different different people, different makers that you know, I've I've met in the past, but I've, you know, was able to have more in-depth conversations. I got to hang out. Kenonion had a couple really good talks with him, which is which is really cool. But the shows, you know, they're not really for any maker to tell you. It's not really for selling the knives. We can we can sell knives on, you know, through through other means. It's more about coming, connecting, networking, you know, meeting people and just yeah. Making connections.

Bob DeMarco [00:02:38]:
What do you think of the the group of people assembled?

Eric Tuch [00:02:42]:
The group of people, the math of room of -- Yeah. -- then you could possibly think of it. It's a lot to take in. Yeah. It is. Over a year, I definitely I mean, the regardless of the amount of, you know, effort and and and time that goes into just getting ready for the shows, you know, going setting up. We're in a booth now. So, you know, getting getting that set up is a little bit more effort there. The steps you put in the you know, just walking on concrete floors for 3 days straight, being up late and and and hanging out and then waking up next morning and spending another 8:10 hours in a in a showroom. It's it's it's definitely takes a toll on the app for a while. Well, I was thinking about the difference between being

Bob DeMarco [00:03:27]:
someone who's there as a visitor and you're just kind of swimming around like a shark the whole time, going down the roads, looking at everything, and then going room to room and coming back, and then They are the people who are exhibiting such as yourself who are in one spot. You're like a reef animal, you know, kinda moored to one spot, and you get to see everyone going by. Right. Either way, it's a it's a pretty great way to meet like minded people.

Eric Tuch [00:03:53]:
Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Bob DeMarco [00:03:55]:
So Tuch Knives, the logo. I wanna I wanna talk about the logo as a way of getting into what Tuch knives is. It is a it's a beautiful logo. It's a it's behind you on the wall. It's a a man holding a young boy's hand. Tell us about Tuch knives how it got started and how you got into this. Well, speaking of the logo, that's actually

Eric Tuch [00:04:18]:
based I should have brought photo to show you, but that's a a photo of my dad and I, which I actually have tattooed on my back. It was the first tattoo that I ever got. And then I just got on you know, I I had a number of talks with different people that gave advice on how to brand, how to, you know, really tell your story, and I felt like this is the most authentic way to to do so. It's really represent what Tuch knives is. It's a father son business. I've learned to you. My dad's been doing it for 20 years. I've been in the shop for the last time learning everything from him, and there's there's nothing I can't do at this point. So we just work side by side. I've got my side projects, you know, like the giveaway knife we'll get into. That's one of my own personal designs and you know, some it's something that I I like to go off and and do and try to you know, expand my push point limits on on the things that I can build because I start, you know, when I came into the shop, My dad was just in the art knife world. He had originally learned from butch ballots, and so he he was originally a a Switchblade guy, learning the automatics, and assisted openers, different dual actions, the button, the scale release. And now we're working on scale release that had, you know, that concept has been done before, but about 4 or 5 years ago now my dad. took the time he had a, you know, light bulb moment and reengineered it to the point that it was something totally original to the point that we actually have a patent for the use.

Bob DeMarco [00:05:51]:
That's pretty cool. That's the one that I had a chance to check out at blade show. Right? The scale release -- Right. -- automatics.

Eric Tuch [00:05:59]:
Yeah. So, yeah, my dad spent a number of years just doing automatics for a few years, and then he made friends with a very prominent, well known art master named Tim Herman. And Tim Herman has Man, if if you look up his work, he's just unbelievable. He he brought in so many different techniques, him and Wolfgang Worschner, work together kind of collaborated. He taught, wolfgang, how to make lockbacks, Lawton Wolf sort of taught taught Tim Herman how to do the fluid in the carving, which is all done with just files and sandpaper, and then my dad was fortunate enough to learn both of those things from my from from Tim, and then he spent a number of years just in the art and macro So when I came in, that's that's all he was doing. Just old school, taper pin lockbacks, inlay, carving, just real intricate things with, you know, 100 of hours into them. Eventually, we kinda realized that that wasn't a a good way to make a living, you know, not a very way to make a living when you're putting 100 of hours into a single piece. Mhmm. And, like, by the time you're ready to to sell it, you know, you've got Google stack and then sometimes you'll, you know, have to sell it for less than the time that you actually have into it. So we started getting back into more tactical stuff. We learned the flippers because that was the big thing, the big new thing to do, and then this new mechanism came along, so we started getting back into the automatic. So I've got a very well rounded skill set. that I was forced enough to learn from my dad.

Bob DeMarco [00:07:45]:
That reminds me of the classical education of an artist learning anatomy, learning, still life, learning to draw from life. You know, the the hard stuff, the stuff that You know, we all wanna become an abstract painter. But before you get there, you have to learn how to do the hard stuff and do the real stuff. And in a way, that's kind of what you went through un unwittingly, you kind of did the hardest stuff first. Folding art knives, basically.

Eric Tuch [00:08:15]:
Yeah. The level of fit and finish with those is just bar you know, there's especially the the level that my dad instilled in me, you know, every every little thing as You just write, you know, different different textures, different finishes, everything is finished inside and out. You know, fit fit and finish is definitely the priority when it comes to to the quality and

Bob DeMarco [00:08:37]:
and energy that we put into the knife. So when one sets out to make one one of those knives, let's let's talk about for a second, maybe some of the knives that you no longer make because they're impractical because you're putting so many hundreds of hours into them. When you're working on enough like that, do you already have a buyer lined up Or is that something that you're doing pretty confident that someone's gonna buy it because your work is in demand?

Eric Tuch [00:09:05]:
I'd say a little bit of both. Sometimes we'll we'll do it based off an order, but for the most part, at least at that time, we would just make what what called to us, what was in our mind's eye, and and, yeah, just kinda hope that someone would appreciate it and buy it. And

Bob DeMarco [00:09:22]:
so how did your how did your dad first get started? I know he as you said, he trained with Butch Volatin early on. But what what where was he coming from? Had is your family kind of an outdoorsy family? Do you come from a a knife family?

Eric Tuch [00:09:39]:
Well, that was actually kind of a fluke. We are we do come from the a metal industry in the first couple of I'm I'm the 4th generation in the metal industry and a couple being on the supply side of things. and he, you know, worked in the family business and then also when I was growing up, he had a fabrication shop. but we had moved to to up to Portland. My mom found a good job as computer programmers, so he was kinda just being you know, mister mom for a while. And at one point, his knife was actually stolen out of his his car. And so as a anniversary present idea, my mom suggested he finds a knife nice knife to to replace. and my dad did his research. He came across the company, both ballots and Miles and caught up the guy to make an order thinking it's it's gonna be the company, but it was Bush. Hello. This is Bush. And after they talked for a while, they realized they had had some mutual friends, mutual connections. He asked once my knife can be ready and and Bush told him when you're gonna be down here to build is used in a couple hours south of Portland. And so we spent a few months in butcher's shop, and then after he had made his first few, they went to the Oregon what is it called? The org one of one of the Oregon shows down in down in Eugene and sold as knives and asked us, what do I do next and push to go home and make a shop, get out of mine. Yeah. So the rest is kinda history.

Bob DeMarco [00:11:19]:
Okay. So you said that you've been you around it your whole life, but you've been working in the shop and making knives, obviously, progressively more and more over the last 10 years, how did it start? How old were you and and and or how you know, what kind of responsibilities were you given and how did it evolve for you? Well, I started

Eric Tuch [00:11:46]:
I was going to school in Canada. I was going to school for kinesiology. I wanted to physical therapy and like with parents pushing for the more practical path. I wasn't I wasn't thriving in that situation. I realized I wasn't you know, that's that's not where I wanted to be, and I I felt like it was better idea to to learn a skill. And I really didn't have the desire or or idea that I was gonna end up in the nice shop with my dad. I was you know, at that time, I did roofing con different contracts, and I was gonna start an electrician apprenticeship. But at one point, but I think the real catalyst of it, my dad was actually in a car accident. Yeah. T boned and ended up with some nerve damages arm, and he was he was struggling to keep up with his work, and so I decided I was gonna jump in the shop with him and try to pick up the Slack a little bit, which granted it took couple years for me to really, you know, become an asset rather than a liability in the shop and making my fair share of mistakes and stacking up you know, the little scrap pile of material. But, yeah, just kinda jumped in with both feet. and and learn as quickly as I could and eventually just develop my own passion for it and just kept on going.

Bob DeMarco [00:13:04]:
So when you're when you're doing that well, I I guess every situation is different, but I always imagine that it's very difficult for a maker such as your father, to you really have to know that person well. Luckily, you're his son. He knows you well. But but to to know when to hand over a little bit more a little bit more responsibility with this night because everything you're working on is so unique and expensive given the materials. That's gotta be a a a fine line to walk. And like you said, you I guess you do end up with a stack of kind of valuable junk.

Eric Tuch [00:13:41]:
Yeah. Yeah. Definitely. Sorry. I lost my train of thought there first.

Bob DeMarco [00:13:47]:
Quite alright. Yeah. It's so as you're kinda gaining experience in the shop, when is it that you start building your own knives because you're working on your dad's work. Right? You're learning how to make knives your dad's way and you're learning to make your dad's models. Is that correct? Yeah. Essentially.

Eric Tuch [00:14:09]:
There was I mean, that I also was being pushed to to build my own and and to use the skills that he was teaching me to to do that. But, yeah, for the for the first majority of the start of the years that I've been doing that I was we were just working totally together. I'd design 1 called the Shan Trail, which is a intricate art knife based off of the Chantrol mushroom that I would go forage for in the Pacific Northwest Hills here. which just has beautiful lines. And so that was a knife that I had designed and then started building on my own, but then he kinda saw the potential of it and say, hey. I'll, you know, help finish this one off, and that actually ended up winning best art knife at Blideshow. I'm not sure which year that was. But -- Oh, that's cool. And then it also ended up on the the cover of the largest blade magazine in China, which led to being invited to Beijing for a knife show, which is really cool. Wow.

Bob DeMarco [00:15:08]:
So how how did it grow? This is one way. I'll be but have is it going to blade show? Is it meeting people like that? And or or or are there networks of high end well, first of all, actually, before we even get to that, tell us kinda what the what what the philosophy of your knives are, what what the philosophy of Tuch knives are. Because without actually looking at them and seeing how beautiful intricate, even the insides of them, are and then how how nicely they open with those with the mechanism and everything. Yeah. What what is the kind of the underlying underlying design philosophy

Eric Tuch [00:15:47]:
of Tuch 9. Well, design philosophy can go one way. You know, finding lines, balance, everything works together. It obviously has to function properly, especially with folding knives. You have to create proper geometry, so it actually works works right. but I would say the biggest model in our shop that I've learned is no mistakes, just new designs. you know, if something happens, well, you know, especially in the handmade world, you know, everything is one of a kind. If something happens here, then you know, make a little bit of adjustment here. You know, adjust accordingly, and that has led to some really, really cool nice that were essentially unintentional

Bob DeMarco [00:16:29]:
Well, that's a that that's a that's an approach that an an artist will take. Whereas an engineer might not be as as open to that kind of thing. The beauty and imperfection, I I remember what the word is, but it's a Japanese term in, you know, art, the beauty and imperfections. Something happens. Like, you don't wanna clay pot that perfect. You want a clay pot that has some sort of imperfection to it. Otherwise,

Eric Tuch [00:16:58]:
it's got no character. Right. The crack's filled with gold and that sort of thing. Yeah. I think that's real beautiful philosophy for sure.

Bob DeMarco [00:17:06]:

So how do you design these things? And and then we're gonna get to how you actually build them, which is kind of astonishing. You got into it a little bit when we were talking at blade. But do you and your father and or your father, you sit down with with pencil and paper? I I can't imagine you wing it.

Eric Tuch [00:17:24]:
I'd say we have a little bit of a different process. My dad's always been very particular about you know, he he does have that sort of engineering, you know, mindset if he wants to have a plan. So he he spends a lot of time on the computer. He puts things in AutoCab. make sure everything's gonna fit up just right here and there, make sure the lines are right. So he has an idea of where he's going. Most of the designs that I've personally come up with actually just kind of been just just a product of a just a flow state of of taking a piece of metal and grinding to to shape and finding lines that I like, something that fits in the hand. It generally starts for me with the shape of the handle, and and the blade comes as a as a means of what fits right with that handle.

Bob DeMarco [00:18:13]:
Flow state like a like a sculpture. You're you're approaching the grinder with a piece of metal, and you're removing all the stuff that isn't the knife you want.

Eric Tuch [00:18:23]:
and that's pretty cool. Yeah. It's a matter of of to to be present, to be just so focused on the tax and task at hand that that, you know, any sort of thought is really isn't there. You're just really in in the moment, you know, you were mentioning in Japanese philosophy. I think that's that's a big part of pretty much, you know, not every, but, like, you know, there's there's a certain art that comes with the what the Japanese culture was then state and everything. I don't know if you've read, like, the book of blinking on the title. But it has to do with the the Zen art art of Archery, I think it's called. And, you know, they're learning how to you know, they learn the process. They learn the technique, but then the the real trick to it is to release the string without thought. and and when when you can get to the point where after you put in so many hours that you understand what you're doing, you've developed a certain amount of skills set and ability to to create and, at that point, when you can tap into just creation to that. You know, I think most most creatives can can relate to that sort of sentiment where they get so involved in their work, but nothing else matters anymore. It's just just you and your work.

Bob DeMarco [00:19:44]:
Yeah. There's that, but then you also need and this this is the this is the hard part. Then you need the disciplined to flop over to the left side of your brain to analyze what you've done and to make corrections. And I would imagine with something like engineering. Like, you're making you're not just making a pot or a painting. You're making a a working tool Yeah. That someone's gonna spend a lot of money on it. You you do have to go back, I would imagine, into that analytical mind, you know, every so often to to make sure that it's a a working piece of engineering.

Eric Tuch [00:20:21]:
Mhmm. Yeah. Absolutely.

Bob DeMarco [00:20:23]:
So the the process of actually making them now. Do you have any anything in front of you, or or are they all off with their new owners.

Eric Tuch [00:20:34]:
Oh, no. I and we actually brought home a a couple of the nights that you saw at at the show. Let's see. Like I was saying earlier, like, the the shows aren't necessarily for making knives. You never heard for selling knives. You never really know what what's gonna happen in that regard. But -- Alright. you know, these are the the knives that I'm that I'll show here in a in a minute. Like, I'm not I'm not worried about them selling. Like, they're definitely eye catching. There's something that, you know, they'll they'll find the home shortly.

Bob DeMarco [00:21:01]:
Alright. So let's see let's see what we're talking about here. what should we get into first? We do a one of the automatics or the giveaway knife? Sure. Let's look at the giveaway knife first because you were telling me some things about how you made this that were really hard for me to believe. Alright. So we've got this beautiful damascus steel what now tell us about the handle and the inlay and and how you made all of this.

Eric Tuch [00:21:27]:
Yeah. So this is my my coho model. The blade is made out of Mike Norris Damascus. So we're all stock removal. We start with the bars and material that that forgers make. as well as, you know, other found materials. For example, this scale material is actually a vintage bakelite from, like, World War Two era. that's been repurposed for this handle. It's then laid with gold lip mother pearl through it. It's got in the in the back space we're using in the in the in the pocket clip all through the the pivots, the thumb studs.

Bob DeMarco [00:22:01]:
Beautiful mother of pearl. And that And that bakelite, I I remember reading is from a radio cabinet or a a radio box from from the battlefield.

Eric Tuch [00:22:13]:
Yeah. Yeah. A military field phone. This one. That is

Bob DeMarco [00:22:17]:
beautiful. Now is this one of your double action automatics?

Eric Tuch [00:22:21]:
No. This one is a is a broken knife. There's no spring in this one. Broken knife. That's what you call it. Yeah. It has been requested. The the prototype this and the dual action model is actually on the bench right now. We just didn't have time. So we didn't wanna put ourselves in a bad position by pushing to get it ready for blade show. but that will be finished in the in the near future.

Bob DeMarco [00:22:43]:
Now when I handled this knife, I remember looking down into it in seen, I believe, your signature written on the inside or something. I can't remember. Maybe it says Tuch knives down there. Yeah. It's our our maker's mark in there. It's Yeah. And the and the whole inside looked beautifully treated, polished, and considered. Is is that is that an aspect of it just like every single bit of it is

Eric Tuch [00:23:13]:
artfully considered? Yeah. I mean, that's the level of of fit and finish that I think comes from the years spent in the art math world where every every single surface is finished inside and out the the liners are jeweled. Everything's hand sanded. You know, even even the screws on the inside are polished. if it was to be taken apart. You know? It's that sort of level of of quality that we strive for with with every piece.

Bob DeMarco [00:23:40]:
So oh, wow. So so even if you're a tinkerer and you decide to take down this knife, you'll you'll see the amazing polished screws on the inside. Those inlays, you said you told me that you didn't even use a pantograph to do those inlays. Is that right? Yeah. It's a 100%

Eric Tuch [00:23:58]:
handmade and old school techniques. It's it's known as the wrong lake method. So, essentially, I'd I'd take a bar of material and And this, you know, you can have a water jet or laser cutout to the shape that you want. Like, my my dad likes to put things in AutoCAD, so he actually has an idea of what it is. But in this case, I I took a bar of material, and I sketched out the shape that I wanted to to create for the the inlay pocket. I did a rough manual mill and then actually hand file it to shape. And from there, you key treat it, and then that is used placed on top of the scale and then using a modified endmill. Let's say it's used so that the the shaft runs along the the shape of the pocket and essentially creates a router to create that pocket, and then the opposite inlay part of it is a mold from that actual pocket -- Oh. -- which is then pressed out loops and material, and then the opposite is is done essentially to to create the exact same shape. You know, you got you you gotta take it off that and then take just a a hair off because it was literally the exact shape. There's no room for even glue to come out. So you have to just finally finally tune it in, so it'll fit in the pocket nicely. So --

Bob DeMarco [00:25:18]:
Yeah. Hold that up to the camera real close again just so we can see the handle. Now when I held this, I I ran my fingers all around that and, you know, inspected it because it's not an inexpensive knife. Let's put it that way. and I wanted to see what what that's all about. And and it's you know, you cannot see any gapping. Obviously, you cannot feel anything. and that was all done 100% by hand. That is amazing to me. So how many times did you mess up? learning how to do that because it sounds like there are a lot of you know, maybe you get to my age. You gotta write things down as you go, but, like, Seems like there are a lot of steps and there's a negative and then a positive and you have to like, how long did that take you to figure out?

Eric Tuch [00:26:06]:
Well, you know, since I learned with my dad, I was fortunate enough to have his, you know, guidance and and and doing that initially. So it that kinda took a a bit of the learning curve out of it, but to go and and do it on my own is definitely a a different store, you know, I came out just with an idea in my mind and and went for it. I actually ended up replacing the scales and making a whole new pattern because I hadn't accounted for where the pocket clip screws are. So it kinda, like, went into the holes, and I didn't want the the pressure to be on the mother portal in light there. So I actually readed that entire process to make it just right. And that's that's what comes with with handmade stuff sometimes. You gotta go back and and spend a bit more time if you you know, like I said, no mistakes, just new design. It's just gotta keep going. We'll work just accordingly.

Bob DeMarco [00:26:55]:
Right. It's like typing your term paper back in the day. You messed up a word. You can't just go and insert it. You gotta type everything over again after Yeah. I don't know if you're gonna using a typewriter instead of compute. Yeah. Yeah. So before we get to some of the other designs. Tell us about this giveaway and and and what what the meaning is behind it, and it's pretty extravagant. gotta say it's pretty awesome.

Eric Tuch [00:27:22]:
Yeah. This idea, it came originally from a common occurrence that would happen at shows or interacting on social media with people that really appreciate the work that we do, but it's just not gonna it's not in the cards for them to afford a 2, 3, 4 plus $1000 knife. This one here at, you know, the amount of time that I have having I'd probably have a table price of around 5 grand for it. and that's that's solely based off just time and materials. So, you know, we we would sometimes you know, it would kinda be a jokingly thing where we'd say, yeah, I wish we could just give it to you, but that was that was a genuine thing. And and at a certain point, this this project has actually been on the for about 4 years now. I started seeing people doing a similar concept of what I'm doing now with cars or houses or things that this massive giveaways here that are that are accruing you know 1,000,000 of dollars in revenue, I'm sure to make it worth it. and I'm just trying to do it on a much smaller scale. So it accomplishes a few things. 1, I'm able to you know, help change someone's life, be able to give it back. You know? I've I've heard people say people that enter and say, hey. Like, I need to replace my roof, and I have no idea how I'm gonna do it. So fingers crossed or, you know, if I won you know, I'm just gonna give charity, or I don't expect to win, but I wanna contribute because I know it potentially helps someone else, which is exactly the sort of energy that I wanna bring to the world. And on the other side of it, there is, you know, a bit of an ulterior motive because if it works properly, it'll free me up. It'll will give me the creative freedom to really put in as many hours as I want into a single piece and and push my limits as a as a maker, and as as an artist, without worrying about how much time or how much money I'm gonna get out of it.

Bob DeMarco [00:29:14]:
So this is something you want to recur.

Eric Tuch [00:29:16]:
Absolutely.

Bob DeMarco [00:29:17]:
Yeah. That's that's great. That's why it says number 1. That's why it's -- Number 1. Yeah. Okay. Well, let so this seems this this might be part of the answer to this question, but this is a father son outfit, and you are the 2nd generation of that outfit. What do you bring as the younger generation? You know, we know what your father brought. He brought the wisdom and the the knowledge on how to build this stuff. which you have taken and made your own. What do you bring?

Eric Tuch [00:29:50]:
Well, I I bring energy. I bring some some help. You know, I I I do it all at this point. I I make every every aspect of the knives I'm involved with. And then on top of that, you know, it's one thing to find something that you really love to do, but then you gotta learn how to actually make business out. and that's something that has been a total new learning curve, and and this whole process of making the website coming up with graphics, you know, the legal side of things, the LLCs, the the licensing, the legalities, all the things that's been a a massive learning curve that has has been a catalyst for a lot of individual growth. And, you know, I'm I'm just trying something new. I'm trying to to think out of the box. And, ideally, it'll it'll benefit the my dad would benefit the people that I care about and benefit the knife community as a whole and the world is awful. be able to give back and and create abundance in the world.

Bob DeMarco [00:30:52]:
I think it's exciting to see someone of your generation, younger generation embrace the these kind of knives because I could see there being a temptation to follow whatever the current trend is and maybe make make a quicker less complicated buck that way. But I like that you as the younger generation are still embracing this tradition that's been handed down to you man. You're that that is an amazing thing to to have in your life so native and and to carry it on. And then, like you said, you bring your energy and, you know, kinda just carrying that art into the future. I think that's awesome.

Eric Tuch [00:31:39]:
Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, coming starting in the art and act world, you know, it was such a limited level of production and everything that we've done, new steps, new ventures that we've taken over the years has essentially just been a means to creating more to increase our production to be able to just like you said, to simplify the builds to to be able to get to a point ahead of price range that more people can can be a part of. And so the whole idea of this giveaway is to you know, because, you know, those all all those steps are kinda just became a a means to the end. You know, it took away from the actual part of it, and and I feel like this is gonna be this is this is a a means of being able to get back to that that passion, get back to the art of things to to be able to really push our limits and and and create the things that that we see here and and and just to be able to make the most spectacular things that we can come up with.

Bob DeMarco [00:32:44]:
Jim just had your web page up and it had a countdown. How do people enter to win this?

Eric Tuch [00:32:53]:
So there's there's a a few ways you can do it. I'm using, you know, the first being the way this is actually gonna be able to continue is you go to the website, you pick out a piece of merch of I've worked hard. A lot of the features, the the logo behind me, but I've also commissioned a number of graphic designers to give me different designs. and I've created over a 100 different products and continue to put more and more things on the website. So every every dollar you spend on something on the website is an entry into winning the knife. another another way you can do it because no purchase is necessary to enter based off legality issues. And, also, as a means of promotion because that's that's the biggest hurdle that I've run into now is to actually be able to market something like this. because of the, you know, the giveaways with cars and things, they have no problem running sponsored ads or, you know, having the celebrity spokespeople and and things like that. But because a knife, it's a more difficult thing to do so. If it's not a kitchen knife, I'm on, you know, my my understanding is that you can't you can't do that without the risk of having your entire account, you know, shadow band or just stripped away completely, which would be pretty yeah. That would not be good. So the next way I came up with is is you can go to our Instagram or our face book, there's a giveaway graphics which you can repost to your page along with, you know, liking and commenting on the post tagging a few friends so things can kinda grow. organically there, and then that will give you per social media and automatic 5 entries into into the giveaway.

Bob DeMarco [00:34:42]:
That's great. Well, we'll we'll make sure that we have a link there to your website so people can check that out. And we can see with the beautiful lighting of the photography of this knife, how beautiful it is, the one that you were just holding up.

Eric Tuch [00:34:59]:
You know, looked looked good on your camera, but this picture, you know, really doesn't. I mean, it's difficult to even capture in a video. You you saw with them. Obviously, the lighting in the cop gallery isn't great, but you can tell in person when you hold it. Like, the the amount of fire, the color that's in the in the inlay. It's just something that can't really be appreciated

Bob DeMarco [00:35:18]:
fully unless you you have when you're holding it in your hand. Yeah. I was gonna say and I I would argue that looking at it is up close as one thing, but also looking at it and also feeling it in your hand at the same time. is something else. Do you have any of the automatics

Eric Tuch [00:35:34]:
close at hand? Yeah. I do. Alright. Let me show you. So this is one of the more tactical models that we brought to blade show here. It's featuring Canvas black, my car, and a 2 tone stone wash blade, magnicut, So as you can see, you can open as a manual knife, but you can also use the spring You see a little little motion there is the -- Yes. -- scale release. So you just said just a slight little

Bob DeMarco [00:36:11]:
movement of the handle and that releases the spring there. So you're sliding sliding that scale up by the pivot as if you're trying to slide the scale off of the off the entire knife and it rockets open. So have have you seen a a change in uptick in orders for these in the past few years since knife rights has done so much work in making the automatics more legal and more places.

Eric Tuch [00:36:39]:
Well, I think it's still a matter of just because of the, you know, level of of minus that we make, but it it essentially just comes. You know, there's a limited 5 people that are that are buying knives that are, you know, in in this price range. We have the works with best set to create our first production model, which we just sold out of I believe show. I'm not sure exactly when that'll happen again or if we're gonna be going with a different company this time, but it was really cool to have a a model that in, you know, in $300 price range that could put this sort of mechanism in in people's hands that that can't generally

Bob DeMarco [00:37:18]:
afford the the sort of knife that we that we usually make. That that kind of mechanism, you know, we've seen it a little bit. ProTech does one. I used to have a MicroTech that did that. It's it's it can be a really cool and thrilling and confusing way to, you know, confusing to your friends to open up a knife. How did the automatic thing was this was this Butch Volatins?

Eric Tuch [00:37:44]:
I'm sorry. I'm I think I mispronounced his name, but Was this his -- -- but I've heard a lot and see. I'm not yeah. I'm sure it's, like, a Tuch too tough type of thing that gets a little.

Bob DeMarco [00:37:56]:
So was that his influence, the automatics? And and what's it like learning how to do all these different mechanisms. It's gotta be a it's gotta add so much more difficulty to the build.

Eric Tuch [00:38:09]:
Yeah. Obviously, a lot of a lot of influence from Bush there. And like you said, you've seen different versions of the scale release, post release, hidden mechanism dual actions. But this is actually something totally new. My dad just had a had a light bulb moment and figured out a way to reengineer it to the point that we actually have a patent on. you know, when they've been simplified, it's actually stronger. It's easier to produce. Another cool thing is it's true true dual action, which means that you can actually take the spring out, and it functions perfectly as a manual 9th. Oh, look at that. This is one of the cool ones we brought. It's got mother of pearl inlay. Arctic storms, fat carbon scales. God. That's me.

Bob DeMarco [00:38:55]:
Yeah. So this is that same So you were just holding up a black My Cara version with a two tone blade. This is a totally dressed up version of it. but it's your tactical. It's a a more a more modern folder you might put in your pocket and use as opposed to some of the other things that you make that you might not be as red ready to do that with, you know, safe queens, if you will. So it it begs the question, you know, art knives. Are art knives robust? You know, this one obvious it looks this one looks very robust, but what about the real fancy things you make? Are they still built like tanks?

Eric Tuch [00:39:39]:
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. The 1st and foremost function comes above anything else. These are, you know, functional pieces of art here. And if they didn't work right, then, you know, you kinda missed the first first base there. So, yeah, absolutely. It's it's essentially the same thing. Just you know, has has roots and and and and the art knife world as well. We bring everything to come together that really represents our lineage and and where we come from and where we're going.

Bob DeMarco [00:40:08]:
So when when we say art knife, I like, I I think I know one when I see one. You know? It's like that'll judge I know it when I see it, but how do you define an art knife? Does it have to do with the materials or the pro process or

Eric Tuch [00:40:25]:
I think it's just a matter of maybe what you're set out to do. It's it's kinda like a different category. You know, I don't I don't know if this would be considered an art knife. You know, this is a a tack cool knife, but it just happens to incorporate techniques from the Art knife world.

Bob DeMarco [00:40:46]:
I guess my question

Eric Tuch [00:40:48]:
this is interesting. My question would be, Did you do that inlay the same way you did the inlay on your giveaway night? Yeah. Everything would be exactly. Well, then it's not. I mean, because to me, like, that's I mean, yeah, I mean, this at a certain level of skill set that goes into it that makes makes an art map. You know, you were talking about what materials are put into it, but most of the most of the knives we're making when I first started was was just simple 416 handles and, you know, just plain steel, and then it's just it was a matter of playing with the light almost, you know, to carve and creating different shapes, different textures, to create more out of a very, very simple canvas.

Bob DeMarco [00:41:30]:
So when say gearing up for something like Blade Show and and your father. And you I I I have a picture of you and your father in my mind, like, jamming away in the shop. How does it work? How do you divide the labor?

Eric Tuch [00:41:46]:
I mean, that's sort of that's sort of grown naturally as I've you know, come into my own as a maker. I've I've taken over different processes more than others. He seems he's he's more responsible for the function of the knives at this point. It might be a lot of the of the, you know, the the actual building of it, the shaping of the parts, the fitting of the locks, the grinding the blades, the finish worked, things like that. But it it's really just a matter it's it's a cohesive unit. We've we've been working together for 10 years now, so we've definitely learned who can handle what, who does certain things better. You know, he's he's getting older and my eyes are are are still fresh, so I can look at some things that he does. Maybe I'll go back and and redo a couple things here and there and vice versa, and it's just kind of a matter of just incorporating both of our our skill sets together.

Bob DeMarco [00:42:43]:
So do you think you've gotten to the point where you you can teach the master some things?

Eric Tuch [00:42:50]:
You know, I'll I'll keep it humble. Like, I'm not gonna grasp Yeah. Yeah.

Bob DeMarco [00:42:58]:
I mean, you got you got to imagine, you know, you're like we were saying before, you know, you're you're coming at it with fresh eyes. You have the experience of being, you know, a younger man than he is in this era. And and, you you know, I'm sure your dad has seen many different trends in the folding knife world come and go. And in your 10 years, I know you have. Uh-huh. So but but you still have those fresher well, in terms of trends, do you do you feel do you how do you assimilate into your kind of the verified arrow the knives you make. How do you how do you assimilate some of the trends in terms of locks or whatever is kinda front flippers, anything like that. How does that get assimilated in? Does it?

Eric Tuch [00:43:48]:
Well, I think that's kind of the one of the issues that we we ran into, you know, moving from from the archives, doing flippers. We're kinda just trying to keep up with the trends doing things that are more in demand reaching different markets. But, you know, I I I think at a certain point, we've just realized that we do what we do, and we we're we're a unique entity in our own. We we have our own experiences. And so, you know, we're one of a handful of people in the world that that make a dual action switchblade. So we're we're we're working on that unique factor and definitely continuing to build those. Yes, it's, well, it's similar. I'm not I'm not really sure. Well, I mean, I think I think it's a I it's a could be a hard -- Our own trends. You know? That's the whole thing with, like, with with the giveaway. I'm trying something new now. I wanna, you know, really should be do things that are authentic to to us to to me. to, you know, do you know, everyone has their own experience. Everyone has their own idea of what a knife should be based off of preference and and conditioning and and and whatever else.

Bob DeMarco [00:45:05]:
And the people who, like, Tuch knives, like, Tuch knives for what they are. They're not like, why don't you make me a button lock or or whatever the the big thing is at the at the time. We've definitely learned over the years you can't please everyone. You know, we went and tried building flippers. I want it I want this. So I'd rather have a a

Eric Tuch [00:45:25]:
a thumb set or or whatnot. So it really just comes down to to building what we wanna build. and and hoping people appreciate our work.

Bob DeMarco [00:45:36]:
Who's your customer?

Eric Tuch [00:45:38]:
Who's our customer? Well, there's a huge knife community out there that that appreciates handmade work. God, that purple is amazing. Oh, yeah. Timeasks turned out great. Wow.

Bob DeMarco [00:45:53]:
Sorry to interrupt you.

Eric Tuch [00:45:57]:
No. You're good. And so, yeah, there's there's definitely a limited number of people that are that are able to actually be a customer of ours, which is another reason for the giveaway is to be able to make that more accessible to the common person.

Bob DeMarco [00:46:13]:
I mean, I look Jim was scrolling through your Instagram page and some of them, I'm like, that's for a collector. That's for a collector. That is for, you know, a, you know, someone who knows but uses their knives. You know, like, some of them really do look very pocket friendly. Others look like you know, you wanna carry it around on a pillow. That's that's why I asked. I was wondering, you know, are are they a lot of collectors of your works and of other of other art art knife makers. It's curious to me, you know, because everyone's got a different different tastes and different angles on their collections. And, you know, to have one something like yours, I I wonder what, you know, the water those people swim in.

Eric Tuch [00:47:07]:
Yeah. I mean but the the thing is is, you know, there's obviously, there's ultra rich that have too much money to spend that are looking for something cooler to, you know, be able to pull out and show off once you wanna But we have a lot of a lot of customers that are just common folks, both your mechanics and and people that just happen to appreciate the work that we do and and deem it worth spending the money to support our and and to own 11 of our.

Bob DeMarco [00:47:34]:
So how have you experienced the knife community of the knife world. You know, I know that you go to blade show, but in terms of kind of getting online and and presenting your work on Instagram and other places like that. How have you been received by the knife community? Me personally or or -- No. Just just Tuch knives. It it you know, I I seem to have found you on Instagram and and to to a lot of people who really love your work. So I'm I'm wondering what it's like operating in in in that environment.

Eric Tuch [00:48:11]:
Well, I think the people that that happen to stumble upon our work, you know, and resonate with it, there's an appreciation there that that is is just like anyone else. You know, people that that run into art and sparks a a reactions as well. That's that that hits on there. I've definitely, I think, struggled a bit in the past to be consistent on social media, and and and that's been kind of a downfall, especially in in like when when we were doing the art knives, you know, making a dozen or less knives in a year, it's hard to become prolific with that level of production. These guys that that have 20, 30,000 followers or people that are able to make more knives and because of that more owners are posting them, so it expands naturally like that. So that that has definitely been an obstacle to to maintain that sort of consistency and and sharing of the work. And, yeah, and just like bringing people into the shop. and and showing showing them what they what we actually do so that it it can be appreciated.

Bob DeMarco [00:49:22]:
So when you look down the road for Tuch knives. So what do you see what do you want the company to become as you become the elder, if you will?

Eric Tuch [00:49:36]:
Well, I you know, looking at at the this this giveaway ideas is really the direction that I'd like head to. I want I wanna be able to get back to really pushing my limits as a maker and and to be able to to thrive doing so rather than you know, trying to make steps towards increasing production and and not lowering quality, but definitely I don't know. There's there's just a certain different different level of energy or a different different feel that comes out of a knife like that rather than one like like the the cohost here where it's it was really just fun. You know? It was it was something that I you know, it's I I like to do things like the the thumb studs on on there with the mother of pearl inlay. That that is kinda just like a joke to me like, oh, let's see if I can do that. You know, I don't don't have a leave even. I was done on the manual mail and just lagging up during the whole property and took a few tries, but you know, when you when it works, it just makes makes you light up and makes you warm. Like, I I did that. It's really cool. So that that's ideally the direction that that I wanna go. And I know it's in order to do that to support the art of it, separate from this giveaway idea, it's it's gonna be a matter of of having production knives, having, you know, like a lot of makers are having without making knives doing doing EDM work and and and things like that. We've had a lot of lot of demand for, you know, since our little production life came out, a lot of people are, it's making it clear that they want more of that. but I ideally, like, I I want this giveaway idea to to really to really work to to make it so Ideally, I'd I'd be able to make, you know, a handful of spectacular knives a year and and would just just go balls out on it and and really just put every bit of different skill set that I that I know to be able to show and push my limits make incredible, you know, pieces of art, but I can then give away and and change someone's life and then in return have that sort of abundance that comes through just providing as much value as I possibly can because that's that's essentially what this is. It's giving away a knife and $5000. That's that represents everything that I have to offer the world. Right? So I, you know, I believe in the law of best proxy. I believe in the more you give, the more you get. And and that's the that's sort of the the model and the mindset that I have going into the Well, all those who love Tuch knives are happy about that. That's a great

Bob DeMarco [00:52:23]:
that's a great motto. But I would also argue that your idea about The production knives is also in the spirit of a giveaway because there might be plenty of people who really resonate with your aesthetic but are nowhere near you know, a place in their life where they're gonna get one of your knives. But to be able to have that design in their pocket for a couple hundred bucks from Riyadh, one of the the greatest, if not the you know, arguably, the greatest production company in China. You know? or or anywhere, that is also generous because, you know, you could just be laboring away on these exquisite art knives and never give anyone the chance to own them. That giveaway is amazing, of course, who wouldn't want the real deal with $5. But, also, Oh, well, you know, next year, maybe they're gonna put out a small batch of Tuch knives that that I I can, you know, I can still have that design. It won't have all of the flourishes and all the art to it, but it will have that the spirit of the design. Yeah. Yeah. And the spirit of it. Yeah. Absolutely. That is one thing that I love about the the the current, you know, design OEM paradigm is just being able to own things by people that I just can't you know, that's just totally out of reach. Or if you're someone like me and you have a a a very diverse appetite for your collection and you you're not gonna spend too much in any particular place because you wanna try a whole bunch of different things. That's another thing. Yeah. I could probably sell my whole collection and buy one of your knives, but I'd I'd like to assimilate your design, you know, via Ria into my you you get what I'm saying. Yeah. Absolutely.

Eric Tuch [00:54:06]:
I I like the idea. Keep going with the the production. But that it all has the same spirit. You know? Yeah. you make it more accessible, and, you know, you'd be able to really give more than than than what is normally allotted based off of

Bob DeMarco [00:54:23]:
how we have done things leading up to now. Just one practical question about this, though. Does that mean that you give 1 away a year? Are you

Eric Tuch [00:54:32]:
right? Or if if you're -- I'm I'm looking at doing that you know, when one ends, you start the next one, you know, working through this because, you know

Bob DeMarco [00:54:41]:
-- Have you made money that way?

Eric Tuch [00:54:44]:
Well, by people buying merch. Oh, oh, oh, wow. -- spending money on the merch. If that works, we we spend a certain amount we buy a $60 sweatshirt, then you get you get 60 entries in the middle of the ninth. It's it's essentially like a a raffle on, you know, on steroids with with more payoff, potentially, pay off. And and, you know, relatives to the guys that are doing this with, like, I've seen Lamborghinis and $50,000 cash. Like, this is not on such a smaller scale, but the the, like, odds of winning are so much higher. It's it's something where I realized, you know, I've I've seen these guys with cars, and and it's always been, wow, that's a great idea. I'm not gonna enter in their things because off that, like, I know they're getting 1,000,000 and 1,000,000 of entries. you know, going to a corporation without really a face on it. You know, this is taking that concept, but it's taking it to, like, level of a mom pop or, you know, or or father son business.

Bob DeMarco [00:55:43]:
Okay. Okay. I finally get it. Like, the full picture. The full picture. Alright. I get it. I get it. That's cool. I'll be buying a sweatshirt.

Eric Tuch [00:55:52]:
That's what we need to make this happen as people you know, it's a it's a it's like a compound effect, and it takes time to make this sort of this sort of thing work. Okay. But as you also mentioned, it purchase is not

Bob DeMarco [00:56:05]:
required and and just go to the website and check it and check it all out. about all those details. Eric, I wanna thank you so much for coming on. And and and for being so welcoming at Blade Show and and you know, because you let me pick up everything that you had there, and it was all, you know,

Eric Tuch [00:56:26]:
So -- That's what it's all about. I know. I know. And that's why I wanna show off what I did. I'm proud of the work that, you know, we do. I want I want people to handle it to appreciate and see their eyes light up when they, you know, realize what you know, there there's a spring in there. Oh my you know, people -- Yeah. up the knives and they'll look through and may say, man, this is amazing. This is great. And then they realize what else is going on at and then it's like, Wow. So that's like it that's that's the the thing that really makes it worth that it's the appreciation from the people that really love what we do.

Bob DeMarco [00:56:59]:
Absolutely. I'm just glad I didn't drop them. You don't know how many knives I drop, Eric. Alright. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate it. Great talking to you and do go to tuchknives.com and check out the giveaway. This is giveaway number 1, and Eric is starting something new, and this is a really cool idea and a great way to get a a a real piece of artwork in your collection. So Eric, thank you so much for coming on the show, sir. Thank you. Thanks for having me. Been a pleasure.

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Bob DeMarco [00:58:02]:
There he goes, ladies and gentlemen, Eric Tuch of Tuch Knives. I love a a family knife story as you know and father son that takes the cake. Very, very amazing knives. I do recommend you check them out. on Instagram. And if you have the means, I highly recommend you pick up a folder by them. But really check out the that giveaway And it's it is interesting to see that is a knife that he made completely Eric made completely soup to nuts on his own, including the design. It's also cool to see the the designs they work on together, and you can do that by going to their website, tuchknives.com. Be sure to check-in with us next Sunday for a another great conversation, Wednesday for the mid week supplemental, and, of course, Thursday for Thursday night nives. 10 PM Eastern Standard Time. Live on YouTube. Alright. 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 9th Junky podcast. If you enjoyed the show, please rate and review at review the podcast dotcom.

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