January brought so much excitement to the knife world, so much so that we forgot to acknowledge an important date: January 2, birthday of Bob Loveless, the most famous custom knife maker of the 20th century, a master whose legacy is still felt 114 years after his birth.
Loveless, who passed away in 2010, is a maker whose work transcends time, fads, and advancements; it embodies the core of knife making as an art and served as inspiration to many other legends. Makers like A.G. Russell and Bob Dozier, Tashi Bharucha and Tom Mayo all have admired his work; and when you take into account all these makers inspiring other makers in their turn, the reverberations of the Loveless era are expansive indeed.
The Loveless Drop Point is an enduring contribution to knife history, going on to be as universal and iconic as a bowie knife or Sodbuster. But Loveless’s influence didn’t stop at the gates of the custom kingdom. He was a trailblazer in the production field as well, one of the first of what these days we would call “custom collaborators,” working as a designer for Gerber and Schrade. The period of time Loveless spent with the former in particular is widely considered the company’s golden era, and Gerber/Loveless production pieces from that time, like his handmade knives, are still sought after to this day.
Now is the perfect time to recommend a classic piece of knife journalism: “On the Cutting Edge” by J.D. Reed, a profile on Loveless published in the July 14, 1980 issue of Sports Illustrated. Elegantly written, it conveys the spirit of Loveless the maker and Loveless the man, showing how these two things are inescapably intertwined. Well-known for being opinionated, and equally well-known for being vocal about those opinions, Loveless extemporizes on his craft, the small but growing knife scene, collecting versus using knives, and more.
We are fighting a temptation simply to quote the article here, but you’d do better to go and read it yourself; enjoy. And belated Happy Birthday, Bob.
Knife in Featured Image: Loveless Drop Point Hunter [Image credit: Hiro Soga]
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