I connected with David Rydbom of Kingdom Armory through Craig Nugent of Empire Outfitter, who has been a long-time friend of the blog. Craig is a dealer for dozens of custom knifemakers, and agreed to forward our “5 from the Grinder” questions onto a bunch of them. I am looking forward to getting to know many new makers whom I might not have previously heard of, but are making kickass blades nonetheless.
David Rydbom is one of those. I will let him take over from here.
An interest in “all things sharp” has been a life long passion. From as early as I can remember knives have held a special fascination for me. Knives were always tools that ventured with you into the wild, and helped spark my young imagination. To a kid of the Indiana Jones generation….. they just seemed to speak of adventure and excitement. I just can’t think of a time when I didn’t have a knife clipped to my pocket, stashed in a pack, or hanging from my belt. Well, life marches on but I believe that your childhood core interests remain with you…
…In that spirit, I’m self taught in this endeavor. There’s just no substitute for trial and error, learning from your mistakes and standing back up to give it another go. As my father always said; “you never know unless you try”. Having become a full time knifemaker in 2008, I’m so thankful I listened to my father. I owe him so much for his encouragement and teaching me not to be afraid of failure. But to rather see it as your most memorable teacher. With his passing in 2011, I now find myself repeating his words to my sons. So, here’s to remembering where you’ve been while trying to get where you’re supposed to be… and here’s to straight grind lines! Cheers.
What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors?
I originally got into knife making as a hobby, that started with doing “pimp” work on Strider’s knives. I never had a mentor along the way, but rather just figured it out as I went. So I guess you could say I’m self taught. Like most every other knife nut though… I started collecting as a kid, then got serious about customs as an adult. When that happened I gravitated toward the work of a few makers… that I guess you could say influenced my views on how a knife should be built and designed. I now know all three of these guys personally, and enjoy working in the same career. Mick Strider, Jens Anso, and Shane Sibert.
What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?
That’s kind of a tough one…. from a practicality standpoint, I’d have to say the good old drop point. I’ve hunted all over the world, and that simple design always works. But, from an aesthetic … and maybe just an “oh, I like the looks of that” emotion… I’d say the cleaver design has always inspired me.
I think the industry is moving toward the “ultra high end production” side of things. Lot of refined technical work going on out there right now in that segment… and with the custom market finally being appreciated for the art and craftsmanship that alot of it actually is… I think a space has opened up between that and the big box “million pieces produced” productions.
Ya, I’d say I’m probably best known for my “bill the butcher” design. As I mentioned before, the cleaver design has always intrigued me… and when I started making knives, I knew I just had to work on a cleaver design of my own. At the time (2006 or 2007) there really weren’t many guys exploring that design style … especially in a folder format. Since then I’ve expanded that butcher theme from 4 or 5 different fixed blade variations…to 4 different folders, all related to that same “bill the butcher” design. All have proven to be popular, but I’m always over a year backlogged on orders for anything folding butcher related.
That answer is actually two fold. For the last few years, I’ve contracted out to have one my drop point designs (the Samaritan) produced on a production level. To date, my favorite variant of those productions is an all Ti framelock “mini-samaritan” which I hand compound ground the blade. I carry that one more than half the time… just because it’s small, light, but still does everything I need it to do. The other times, when I want to carry a full custom…. I carry a Griffon linerlock that I made just before I got married. It’s not way over the top… but sort of classic with it’s Ti bolsters and carbon fiber. The blade shape is a modified sheeps foot with just a hair of up-sweep to the edge, so it makes for a great utility blade. I’ll probably always be partial to it though, just because it was clipped to my pocket when my wife and I got hitched.