We have shared several videos from Green Beetle Gear, a Tulsa-based outdoor retailer. They have a brick and mortar location, as well as extensive online retail operation for hunting, survival, camping and other pursuits. As far as I can tell, the videos that they put out are a sort of “brand-ambassadorship” for want of a better description. It is how I discovered them, and as a correspondence developed between us Steve Calvert agreed to share his thoughts as a both a maker and retailer of knives in a 5 from the Grinder feature.
First, in a few sentences, please introduce yourself and let us know what led you to making/designing knives.
Hey, Everybody. Steve from Green Beetle. I started making knives about 4 years ago after taking an interest in the fixed blade knives we sold up at the shop. Having home-brewed beer and made chocolate from the bean in my brother’s kitchen, trying to make a knife from “scratch” seemed natural. The initial results were…poor! How-to videos on YouTube, the American Bladesmith Society forums and encouragement from friends kept the dream alive. The creative possibilities, combinations of shapes, techniques and materials are all endless. This journey is just beginning. You make one! Do it, now!
Question 1: What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors?
I love forged knives. Look at the classic fixed blade designs made by the American Bladesmith Society guys (and others) like Lin Rhea, J. Cook, Fisk, Cassidy, Karl Andersen, Cashen, Tomberlin and many more. Lovely, lovely curves. I need a mentor, badly. And someone to teach me to weld!
Question 2: What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?
American trade knives. All work, no play.
Question 3: What is the next big thing in knifemaking? / What direction do you see the industry going?
The high level of design going into custom folders has been interesting. Wider color palettes are cool. Advanced coatings are generating some interest. But I hope the next big trend is a return to function defining form. Not every tang should be 1/4″ thick and, yes, a folder should fit in your pocket. Maybe the decline in functionality speaks more to where we are in society – many people who buy knives don’t need to use them more than a few times per year, if at all, but are captivated by the form of the knife and the feeling it gives them. There is value in capturing people’s imagination. Or maybe it’s designers trying to leave their mark and patent as much nonsense as they can. I dunno. At any rate the utilitarian form of the knife needs to stage at least a brief comeback. Maybe that’s not healthy for the “industry” though. Perhaps at the very least we can all agree carbon fiber has had its moment.
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?
Question 5: What is your EDC and why?
Kizer 4101A1 because I can’t find my Spyderco Tenacious.
The best place to see Steve’s work is on the Green Beetle YouTube channel, or their Facebook page as well. If you want to buy one of Steve’s knives, you have to go the auction route as the creations from his videos get auctioned for charity.