5 From the Grinder

“5 from the Grinder” with Tucker Allan Parris

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Tucker Parris is the man behind TAP Forge and maker of fine Damascus knives.

Tucker Allan Parris is a California-based smith who I found via Twitter. The 5 from the Grinder series gives us the opportunity to showcase makers with whom many of you, and us in this case, are unfamiliar. I have begun to comb through some of our social media contacts whom I do not know personally. When I find a knifemaker whose work looks cool I dig a little deeper. If the maker seems to have a strong online presence, a good reputation, and a cool background story I reach out to them. Tucker, and his company TAP Forge, exceed the bar in all of these measures and so I dropped him a line out of the blue.

Tucker found the opportunity appealing, and agreed to participate. We are thrilled to be able to introduce him to you here.

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First, in a few sentences, please introduce yourself and let us know what led you to making/designing knives.

I’m Tucker Parris, and I created TAP Forge in 2015. Put simply, knifemaking is my medicine. I was injured while serving in the U.S. military. After living with chronic pain for 10 years years, I recently began undergoing successful radio frequency nerve ablation treatments at UCI Health. The procedure made my life livable again, and with increased mobility, I decided to take a welding class. This led to blacksmithing, which then led to the exciting world of knifemaking. Although being a disabled veteran prevents me from returning to a dangerous life of search and rescue, my injuries do not prevent me from using my forge (which my wife contends is still pretty dangerous).

 

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Question 1: What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors?

One of the biggest influences for me is Nick Wheeler. He has an amazing attention to detail and makes truly amazing knives. I do not have a mentor, per se, I have taken a class with master smiths Brion Tomberlin and Mike Williams. They both taught me a lot, and the knowledge I gleaned from the experience will stay with me for the rest of my life.

 

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Question 2: What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?

My favorite knife, by far, is the Bowie Knife. It’s the most classic American knife. One of the highlights of my knife class was that I got to visit the actual site where James Black made the famous Bowie Knife for Jim Bowie in Old Town Washington, Arkansas.

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Question 3: What is the next big thing in knifemaking? / What direction do you see the industry going?

In general, consumers are starting to have a growing appreciation for hand made items. And websites like Etsy and social media sites allow savvy knifemakes to connect directly with those conscientious customers. It’s clear the handmade movement is on the rise. Because of that, I foresee social media playing an even bigger role in our industry in the near future.

 

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Question 4: Is there a knife from your lineup that you feel best exhibits who you are as a knifemaker/designer in terms of design elements, aesthetic or techniques used?

I feel my patternwelded knives best exhibit who I am. Patternwelded knives are a unique blend of magic and science, which in the end yields a controlled chaos of mixed metals. Like a patternwelded knife, I am also defined by a unique blend of attributes. For example, my best friends think I am a dumb genius. They are half right.

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Question 5: What is your EDC and why?

My EDC is a pattern welded knife (that I made.) It’s nice to look at, and it’s functional. I cut boxes at work, and I look damn good doing it.

 


You can check out more of Tucker’s work at Tap-Forge.com, Instagram @tapforge, or Twitter @TAP_forge.

If you are a knifemaker or know a knifemaker that would like to be featured in a future 5 from the Grinder post, please send an email to thetruthaboutknives@gmail.com.

 

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