The 5 from the Grinder series allows us to feature makers at all points along the knife-making spectrum. We kicked things off with L.T. Wright, a veteran maker who employs several people. Caleb White is a bit farther along the journey, being a juried member of a guild and having been in business for a couple of years. Today we bring you a maker who is transitioning from hobbyist to professional.
Jeremy Longmire is TTAK’s newest part-time writer who counts knifemaker among the many hats he wears. Jeremy explains his background well below, so I will step aside and let him speak for himself.
As an east Tennessee native I was raised to appreciate the do-it-yourself mentality. My formal education from the University of Tennessee, was in fine art with a concentration in graphic design. My family and I now reside in Kingston, Tennessee where we operate a horse farm on the banks of the Tennessee river. As a life long learner I enjoy DIY projects and hobbies in a wide range of fields. Creativity, craftsmanship, and an attention to detail are the driving forces behind my work. To see a few of my projects check out my blog here: http://longmireknives.blogspot.com/ and my YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/DgitlRedBeard.
By skill level I would classify myself as a knife making hobbyist. I began modifying Old Hickory knives into camp and bushcraft knives as a way of testing out characteristics like blade design and handle shape. I have now made/modified over 50 knives with the goal of making each one better than the previous one.
What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors?
The knife makers which have influenced my work are Bark River Knives, Fiddleback Forge, L.T. Wright, ML Knives, Jeff White, Adventure Sworn, Koster Knives, Spyderco, Condor knives and of course Mora Knives.
I have many indirect mentors via YouTube. That is where I learned most of my knife making techniques. The trial and error method has also contributed greatly to my skill development. I also post what I have learned on YouTube contributing to the collective knowledge.
What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?
That is a tough one. Sort of like asking someone what their favorite food is, so many choices. The Kephart knife comes to mind first. It gets so many things right. For example the blade shape is structurally tough and functional. The traditional flat grind is also a great general purpose grind for food prep, slicing, butchering game, camp chores, and opening packages. The traditional handle shape is comfortable to use and secure in hand. Is there room for improvement? Sure. I myself have tried many such improvements.
Other favorites include those which have been refined over generations withstanding the test of time. Examples of these are the French trade knife, the butcher knife, the Nessmuk knife, the traditional bushcraft knife and the drop point hunting knife.
What is the next big thing in knifemaking? / What direction do you see the industry going?
I see the hobby aspect of the knife industry growing. It offers a way of getting people involved who would not otherwise have the skills or equipment to make a knife from scratch. I see potential for growth in the knife kit market from manufacturers like Enzo and Condor. I would love to see more manufacturers offering blade blanks. With over 50,000 views my YouTube tutorial for modifying an Old Hickory knife into a Kephart knife has surely gotten a few people interested in the hobby.
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 goal is to make each knife better than the previous, as such my most recently completed knife is the one which best exhibits my style. It is a bushcraft knife similar to the Spyderco Bushcraft UK. The blade incorporates a scandivex grind which has an excellent balance of strength, cutting performance and ease of maintenance. The handle is comfortable and secure in a variety of grip positions for extended periods of time. For me a knife also has to look good. The lines should flow together to create a visual balance incorporating elements of symmetry and proportion.
What is your EDC and why?
My EDC knives rotate pretty regularly. I will list the knives I have on me or in my immediate vicinity. I am carrying a Spyderco Paramilitary 2 and a Victorinox Swiss Army Tinker on me. I also have a Fällkniven F1, Spyderco Proficient and Leatherman Wave in my bag.
To keep it short here are the key reasons I like these knives. I could write a full review about each knife and have about the Spyderco Proficient. The Spyderco Paramilitary 2 is my current EDC favorite. The pocket clip and blade deployment hole make it quick and handy. The S30V blade steel is tough, stain resistant and holds an edge well. The handle shape and ergonomics are pretty good for a folder. The edges of the G10 handle scales could use a wider radius to improve comfort. I added an aftermarket titanium deep carry pocket clip from Casey Lynch and prefer it to the original clip. Around the office my Tinker sees the most use due to its benign appearance and functional utility. The Fallkniven F1 sees a lot of use on days that I don’t leave my property. I like its compact design and VG10 convex grind blade steel. I have never worried about putting it to hard use. I have a full write up about the Spyderco Proficient but will list a couple key features. It has the best handle design of any knife I have used and the S90V blade steel has incredible wear resistance. The downside is that it will cost you north of $250 which is pretty high for a production knife made in Taiwan. My Leatherman Wave gets used a lot when I am away from my tool box. It offers several useful tools in a small, relatively lightweight package.
Thanks for reading. All the Best,