JT Hats
James grew up on an Ozarks farm where tools like axes and picks were still used in the daily routine and the blades of stockman's pocketknives served their original functions. Receiving his first pocketknife at age four he got it open by himself nearly a year later and spent his formative years wandering the woods with a succession of ever larger knives, a book of matches and a rifle.

A veteran of Vietnam, James also served in Alaska during a stint in the Army, receiving his first intensive culinary training by setting a record for extra KP at Ft. Richardson.

Settling in the Pacific Northwest after his discharge, James crewed on sailing yachts in local races, backpacked hundreds of miles of mountain trails in search of good trout fishing, and occasionally attended college.

His first serious job as a civilian resulted from answering a Seattle Post Intelligencer want ad requesting someone who could lift 120 pounds repeatedly and wasn't afraid of fire. James apprenticed to John Frazier -- the most knowledgeable traditional foundryman in North America at that time -- for the next six years.

Returning to the Ozarks James made his living by growing ginseng on a hand-terraced wooded hillside and selling handmade wood turnery, furniture, sculpture and architectural carvings. James harvested trees from his own land, processing logs into posts and beams and turnery billets with saws, axes, froes and planes. Since many tools he needed were no longer available, James built his own forge from a barbeque grill, a vacuum cleaner and a 55 gallon steel drum, found a chunk of railroad track for his first anvil, and taught himself blacksmithing -- creating his own knives and tools from scrap steel and sweat.

Changing economic pressures eventually forced James back to the restaurant industry in Branson, Missouri, and later to even more success as a maintenance engineer for one of Branson's largest condominium resorts. Finally escaping to Indiana, James now makes his living telling true stories as a freelance writer.



Bowie Knife w/ Stag Antler Handle | Damascus Laminated Steel, Heavy Filework

1 min read

Bowie Knife w/ Stag Antler Handle This very nice Damascus Bowie Knife has a traditional rustic build combined with fine filework on the spine of the laminated Damascus steel blade. It shows the beauty and unique flaws of natural materials and simple methods along with very modern refinements. The brass finger guard and colorful spacers — alternating composite layers with metal — add a contemporary design touch and make it look like a custom build. The balancing part of the look is the crude bolster, a flat brass spacer hammered to fit the butt of the antler.

If I hadn’t seen way too many Damascus steel knives lately, I’d be much more impressed — but obviously someone is responding to the market and supplying laminated steel stock to anyone who wants to step in and make a profit. That brings knives like this one into a price range more of us can afford, but it also does some damage to the collectability of Damascus blades. Rather than collect this one, just look at it as a good and extra heavy Bowie knife. The full length is 13-1/2 inches, and the weight is about 13 ounces. Natural stag antler in the handle will cause exact specs to wander a bit.

The knife’s eight-inch blade is very similar in shape to the first knife designed by Colonel Jim Bowie. Later designs favored the ideas of James Black, the man who actually made the Bowie knives that set the trend. This Bowie shows the butcher knife characteristics of the original concept.

With the accompanying stitched leather belt sheath, this is a good hunting knife anyone should be proud to own, and it’s enough of a¬†bargain that somebody may actually test whether Damascus steel as it’s made today is really better.

Find this Damascus Bowie Knife:

JT Hats
James grew up on an Ozarks farm where tools like axes and picks were still used in the daily routine and the blades of stockman's pocketknives served their original functions. Receiving his first pocketknife at age four he got it open by himself nearly a year later and spent his formative years wandering the woods with a succession of ever larger knives, a book of matches and a rifle.

A veteran of Vietnam, James also served in Alaska during a stint in the Army, receiving his first intensive culinary training by setting a record for extra KP at Ft. Richardson.

Settling in the Pacific Northwest after his discharge, James crewed on sailing yachts in local races, backpacked hundreds of miles of mountain trails in search of good trout fishing, and occasionally attended college.

His first serious job as a civilian resulted from answering a Seattle Post Intelligencer want ad requesting someone who could lift 120 pounds repeatedly and wasn't afraid of fire. James apprenticed to John Frazier -- the most knowledgeable traditional foundryman in North America at that time -- for the next six years.

Returning to the Ozarks James made his living by growing ginseng on a hand-terraced wooded hillside and selling handmade wood turnery, furniture, sculpture and architectural carvings. James harvested trees from his own land, processing logs into posts and beams and turnery billets with saws, axes, froes and planes. Since many tools he needed were no longer available, James built his own forge from a barbeque grill, a vacuum cleaner and a 55 gallon steel drum, found a chunk of railroad track for his first anvil, and taught himself blacksmithing -- creating his own knives and tools from scrap steel and sweat.

Changing economic pressures eventually forced James back to the restaurant industry in Branson, Missouri, and later to even more success as a maintenance engineer for one of Branson's largest condominium resorts. Finally escaping to Indiana, James now makes his living telling true stories as a freelance writer.



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