I first heard of, and later met Fuad Accawi, through Mike C., at the Friday lunches with Ethan Becker and a revolving cast of characters that Allen Elishewitz has labeled the “Knoxville Knife Syndicate“. Mike has been talking up Fuad’s work for some time, and now that I have seen it in person I fully understand why. An ABS Journeyman Smith, his work should have no problem with the presentation Damascus jury when he tests for Master. He certainly has the art half of the equation down pat.
I will step back and let Fuad tell you more about himself and his work.
First, in a few sentences, please introduce yourself and let us know what led you to making/designing knives.
I began making knives when I was in my early teens. I was fascinated mostly by swords that I either read about or saw in movies such as Excalibur and Conan the Barbarian. My first knives were made from a rusty coffee can full of old metal files that my dad gave me when he was cleaning out an old storage shed of my grandmother’s. There was also a home-made bench grinder that consisted of a motor screwed down to a piece of 2×12 board. My father was an English teacher at UT and didn’t see why I would be interested in those things at all. Little did he know that he had sparked a lifelong pursuit within me.
When I was in High School my parents bought me The Sword of Ferdinand made by Marto for Christmas. I was so excited to have a real “Battle Worthy” sword. It turned out that it was a little less battle worthy than promised because when I tried to cut a 1″ diameter tree branch the entire hilt broke off. I saw that the entire tang had been welded on, and that the “Cast Bronze” furniture was merely plated pot-metal. I was then determined to do it better myself. The career choices I made tied in to my quest to make a perfect blade. I apprenticed as a Jeweler during college, worked in a machine shop as a polisher- then as a prototype machinist. Making knives has been all I do for the last 14 years.
Question 1: What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors?
My biggest influences as a youth were Peter Lyon, Jody Samson, Gil Hibben, and Chris Reeve. Each for their own reasons. Later on in life when I learned of the American Bladesmithing Society through Mark Zalesky at “Knife World” magazine I entered a new stage in my career. Mark introduced me to Ron “Bowie” Claiborne. If I were to name a mentor it would be “Bowie”. He has been generous with time, materials, advice, and most of all his friendship. Meeting people like Burt Foster and Jason Knight and seeing their work further cemented my path with the ABS. I truly admire their sense of proportion and design and it had flavored the direction of my work.
Question 2: What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?
I think I have two favorite patterns from history. Firstly, a fullered cruciform sword, and secondly a the Bowie knife.
Question 3: What is the next big thing in knifemaking? / What direction do you see the industry going?
I’m not sure what the next “Big Thing” in knifemaking will be. I have a tendency to concern myself with my projectsand to take them where they lead me and not get overly concerned with trends.
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?
My AUK, Acre Utility Knife is a line of durable work knives that come in various sizes and configurations. A lot of tradesmen and military folks like them because of their durability and simplicity. Those traits are also something that is paramount in importance to me in my custom forged work.
Question 5: What is your EDC and why?
I carry an AUK fighter that I made for myself out of Damascus. Strong and Sharp with a 5″ blade. I’m so glad that Tennessee got rid of that blade length restriction! Pic attached.