“5 From The Grinder” with Dogwood Custom Knives’ Dan Eastland

DanEastland

I would like to introduce you to Dan Eastland, owner of Dogwood Custom Knives, whom I had the pleasure of sharing camp with recently. Primarily known as a purveyor of finely finished custom knives, he also launched Heritage Knife Company in early 2016, serving as a mid-tech line for Dogwood’s more popular patterns. He also has some cool stuff debuting at BLADE Show 2016, so be sure to visit his booth if you are there!

Without further ado, take it away Dan!

Dogwood Damascus Huntsman

Dogwood Damascus Huntsman

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

First would be Andy Roy at Fiddleback Forge as that he was my literal mentor when I did an apprenticeship with him. Dylan Fletcher also took a personal interest in my work at that time. I am often inspired by Bob Loveless’ commonsense approach to stock removal and knife design. I have had the chance to sit down with Ethan Becker from time to time as well and his advice has been priceless.

Dogwood Longhunter

Dogwood Longhunter

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

I have spent a lot of time studying trade knife patterns of the late 1700s, to early 1800, both long knives and patch knives. There is a beautiful balance to those knives between  men needing a knife that they could literally bet their lives on but with the price of steel the smiths had to be very efficient with their materials. The evolution of kitchen knives has also fascinated me. I like to see tools that are designed with fewer aesthetic restrictions and the kitchen is one of the places that has happened.

Dogwood Damascus Hunstman

Dogwood Damascus Hunstman

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

I think we are going to see a shift to thinner blades. I think as both the skill sets of knife enthusiasts increases and with newer steel like the CPM steels, we are expanding the limits of what a blade can do. I think blade makers are going  to start pushing the limit of performance with faster, lighter, thinner spines, and higher grinds. We as an industry are only an idea or two away from the light saber and I am excited to see it happen.

Dogwood Echo-5

Dogwood Echo-5

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?

This is like trying to pick a favorite kid, each of my patterns are different but each one has a part of me in it. The most successful pattern is the Echo-5, it has simple clean lines and is highly functional. The Piranha uses curves and leverage to pack a lot of performance in a small package.

Dogwood Piranha

Dogwood Piranha

I think the new Camp Hawk (which will premier at BLADE Show 2016) is the best example of my style in that I went back to find a proven historical design, applied my engineering background to find what worked and why, and then found ways to apply modern steels and manufacturing to improve on the foundation our forefathers laid.

Heritage Hawkins

Heritage Hawkins

Question 5: What is your EDC and why?

I carry a Dogwood three finger EDC. It has a 3/32”  blade that is 3-1/8” long with a full height grind. It’s curved handle makes it very compact to carry and nimble in the hand with lots of control. I carry it horizontal cross draw so I can get to it with either hand. It has done everything from opening mail and peeling fruit to dressing large game. If my shirt is untucked nobody even knows I am carrying it until it is in my hand and I do not have to dig dirty hands in to my clean pockets to get to my knife.

Dogwood Trail Hiker with "Firefly" scales.

Dogwood Trail Hiker with “Firefly” scales.


You can check out more of Dan’s work at the Dogwood Custom Knives website, as well as Facebook and Instagram. You can also drop him a line at the official Dogwood forum on Blade Forums.

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

comments

  1. Sam L. says:

    Elegant simplicity.

  2. Ze Kragash says:

    Elegant indeed. Like the firefly scales on the hiker/camping knife.

  3. James Montana says:

    I own Two of Dan’s knives and have known him for a few years now, I have a 3rd knife on the way shhhh don’t tell my wife. No knives I have see or used come as close to perfection for me as the dogwoods, Elegance in simplicity and above all functionality not to mention superior quality and craftsmanship. YOu can’t find better knives or a better craftsman anywhere.

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“5 From The Grinder” with Dogwood Custom Knives’ Dan Eastland

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