My visit to Loveless

Discussion in 'Blades' started by Valkman, Oct 6, 2005.


  1. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Legendary knifemaker BOB Loveless lives about 4 hours away, so I called him and he agreed to our visit. We drove down there Tuesday night, and I couldn't sleep at all in that motel so when we did go see him I felt real bad and don't know if I got the right impression or not. A couple of times I felt down right insulted, like when he asked "You do any hunting", and when I said no he said "I didn't think so". WTF? It was not complementary, just like when he looked at my knives, turned and walked away with no comment. These are the absolute best I can make but he obviously didn't think much of them.

    He is 76 years old, and the conversation can be strange and at times like an interrogation.

    His shop is awesome with several grinders, lots of great mills and only the best equipment. It is very clean and organized, he opposite of my garage. :)

    Well, I'm glad we got to meet him. Denise thinks we should go back and he said we could, so I don't know. Maybe. I can't take that many blows to my knife-making ego! LOL
     
  2. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    He sounds kind of ornery, but that is just part of being an old man. Don't take it personal.
     
  3. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    What he said, He might be type to act that way on first visits, I'd give him one more shot.
    Anyway, your work looks great to me, and I HUNT! b::
    keep up the great work VM
     
  4. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Sometimes it was like talking to my Dad before he died - the original "Don't Confuse Me With The Facts" kinda guy. When I whipped out my all Titanium Zippo Usualsuspect.net had special made Loveless siad "what's that" and hopped over to look at it. When I said it was Titanium he walked back to his seat and said "Well, it MIGHT be Titanium coated, but Zippo doesn't make a Titanium lighter". Uh, wrong, but I am not going to argue with a 76-year old man about anything.

    He did write a neat message in the book I took with us, "Living on the Edge". This book is full of pics of knives that Loveless made over 50 years. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  5. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Cool.
     
  6. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Yeah very cool [bow]
     
  7. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    It take a few years for us young whipper-snappers to understand.
     
  8. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Yea - one guy said "If he didn't spit on you or shoot you he likes you!" :)
     
  9. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    It's just one generation testing another....
    It's a worthiness thing I guess... happens all the time.....
    Paying your dues is a big issue with alot of knifemakers.....
    Making a knife or two is one thing.... being a knifemaker is another....
    These guys know that.... they've seen many come and go....
    One knife (or a few) and a knife sale (or a few) doesn't make you a "knifemaker"....
    It's all about dedication, tenacity, passion, patience and commitment....
    Can you take it?.... Can you learn?.... Can you become a "Legend"?
    I read a story about a young man who wanted to learn swordsmanship.... he went to a master swordsman and asked him to teach him.... after some time the master finally accepted him but he put him to work in his garden.... each day the master would sneak up silently on the student and hit him with a stick.... this went on for some time... it was frustrating and humiliating... and he wasn't learning anything about swordsmanship.... then one day he was in the garden cleaning and just as the master swung the stick he moved and avoided the blow.... he looked at the master and finally asked when he was going to start his lessons.... the master then told him that he had no need to learn swordsmanship because he could already avoid the master's stealth and blow.... needless to say... the sword lessons began after that day...
    What's my point?....
    Loveless is a legend.... there's alot to learn from him..... but he's just a guy who loves his craft, mastered it at a time when there were few to learn from, paid his dues, took his lumps and "did it his way".... he knows what's important in this craft and its not all grinding and buffing.... It's basics first.... It's a "soul" thing.....
    He's just trying to teach you the same.....

    Why do I feel like some background music with Sinatra singing "My Way" is appropriate here???....

    Valkman... you're already a 'master" to some of us here.... holding your own in the company of a guy like Loveless shouldn't bother you.... he's just another guy.... learn what you can and then move on the better for the experience.....

    Nuff said....

    Sorry for the soapbox.....

    Bear...
     
  10. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Good stuff Bear! Take a look at "Here's a Special One" because you're going to have one just like it in a short time. :)
     
  11. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Thanks Valkman.... Hope I didn't offend you or anyone.....
    After I wrote this... I settled down to read my Blade Magazine that had just come yesterday.... if you get this mag... read the comments from readers section.... there's a letter from a reader commenting on a "Hall of Fame" candidate.... mentions Loveless and what kind of guy he is.... also Fowler had a section on this type of stuff as well.... it was interesting reading....
    Yup... I saw the "Special One".... its a beauty....
    You're too kind..... that's what makes you the "Special One".....

    Nuff of the "mutual admiration society" stuff.....

    Did you go to Blade West?.... heard it was kinda disappointingly small.... still... lots of great makers....
     
  12. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I actually did read that before I went. I think I just hoped for too much out of the visit. But, Mike Lovett has been talking to me over at USN and he is a Loveless disciple who got like 80 blanks from Loveless and makes absolutely beautiful knives. One way or another I will figure this stuff out. :)

    A guy on USN offered a floor-standing drill press for free and I need one so we're off to So. CA. again next weekend to meet USN'ers there and get that. Next I'll buy a mill and things should improve then.

    I'd make free knives for everyone here if i could - that's how much the support means to me. But this is an expensive biz and I need more neat stuff and neat steels so I can get better and so have to charge. Never too much, I hope. :evil:
     
  13. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Woohoo! I just came up with my own Extreme Edge Quench Technology !

    I was too lazy to put refractory cement on some knives I was heat treating, so when they got non-magnetic I just bent and put the edge of the knife in the quench oil. Made a neat straight temper line! So I made up a cool name for it. :)
     
  14. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    "The master as work!"..... how did the edge do on the file test? slide off like glass???
     
  15. TLynn

    TLynn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    That is how most new things are learned. It's called "by accident."

    Wonders will never cease Don...you're doing well and like Bear so elequantly stated earlier, you've met a master at the art and he didn't just walk away he actually visited with you for a few. Don't let him drag you down any, just take the highlights and the good from your visit, nothing more, nothing less.

    You'll be where he is one day yourself (hopefully not as cranky though).

    Teresa
     
  16. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    According to the wife I'll be crankier! LOL

    Yep, Bear, edges were hard! I just tonight made a big recurve hunter that will have a guard. I drew it out, chop-sawed it, profiled it, drilled holes in it, tapered the tang and ground it. Then I heat treated it. It's in the tempering oven now and tomorrow we'll see about putting a guard on it. Pinned and soldered too. Hopefully. :D
     
  17. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Hey, did you guys see I got a free drill press on USN? Exitable Boy said it was free if you came and got it and he's in Simi Valley a little north of L.A.. They having a Meet & Greet at someone's house down there next Sunday so we're going and will get the drill press. It's a floor standing, 12-speed one that should be much better than my $99 Sears one! :p
     
  18. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Listen to her Valkman..... she's pretty awesome herself.... [​IMG]
     
  19. TLynn

    TLynn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Ah Bear, you are too kind.

    Valkman, I think that is way cool!!! Another road trip and a chance to meet more neat people (even if it is in California).

    As for me, I seem to have won myself a Snody Custom - what the heck am I going to do with it? Couldn't convince BossHoss to keep it. Sigh...
     
  20. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member


    Want my mailing address? ;)
     
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