Thursday, June 19, 2014

Who was R.W. Loveless?

This post is not about guns, it is about knives. Knives and guns share common traits and most gun collectors are also, to some extent or another, knife collectors. While researching knife making I discovered a style of knife that intrigued me. The Loveless knives are stunning in their design, shape, and perfection. So I decided to share what I learned with my blog followers:

Robert Waldorf Loveless is a name well known in the knife collecting and knife making world. His knives command hefty prices.
Bob (as his friends called him) made his 1st knife in 1953 while serving as a Merchant Marine. Apparently Bob wanted to purchase a Randall knife and discovered that there was a 9 month wait for one of the custom knives. As so many other great success stories start; Bob decided to make his own.
He used a leaf spring from a 1937 Packard that he found in a junkyard. He used the stove in the ships galley as his forge. When completed he showed the knife to the folks at Abercrombie & Fitch and suddenly R.W. Loveless was in the knife business. He called those 1st knives "The Delaware Maid"

Loveless' first knives were copies of Randall designs, but by 1960 he began to experiment with different ideas and created his own style.
I wont bore you with too much detail, instead I will use pictures to tell the story. Pay attention to the guards, the tapering of the tang, the use of spacers on the scales and the scale/handle material. 
  As time went the designs became more refined

It is difficult to find original Loveless knives. Bob is no longer making knives, he left us on September 2, 2010. His knives, however,  live on forever in the collector market.

In the world of fine art it is common for artists to attempt to duplicate the work of a master. This is also true of Loveless knives. There are dozens (maybe hundreds?) of fine bladesmiths that have done an excellent job of reproducing the designs and capturing the visions of R.W. Loveless, this list is hardly exhaustive, every time I do a search I find more of them.

Jim Merritt worked with Bob Loveless for over 25 years, he had a hand in many of the designs and continues to make knives in the Loveless tradition
 Charles Vestal:

 Marcus Lin

Brent Harp

Michael LoGuidice

 W.C. Davis
Thad Buchanan
Alan Warren

T.K. Steingass
 Vasyl Goshovskyy
Jim Ferguson
 David Sharp

Bob Loveless Knives
Sharpworks Knifes & Tools
Twisted Nickel
Alan Warren Knives
W.C. Davis Knives
Buchanan Blades
Lin Knives
Vestal Knives
Steingass Knives
Brent Harp Knives
Goshovskyy Knives
Hunt Forever

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