[A detailed interview with Barry Davis is at the end of this article]
Barry Davis is one of the best known knifemakers worldwide and he definitely belongs to the circle of the most talented ones. His creativity is immense, his work is fabulous and his finish is superb. Living in New York is one thing being knifemaker there another. He combines all characteristics needed to craft these extraordinary works and he has a lot more.
"My interest in custom knives began after being introduced to James A. Schmidt in 1978. Jim was a big influence on my work and my life. I met him while trying to make a knife in an 11th grade high school shop class. He taught me the finer points and guided me through the completion of many carbon steel knives before he would agree to unlock the secrets of forging damascus steel. My encounters with a forged blade has led me to believe that it makes a far superior blade. Special qualities can be imparted into the steel which cannot be accomplished through any other process.
Sole authorship is an important attribute to me. From design, to forging the damascus, to all embellishment. Learning new technique is exciting to me and breathes new life into my work. After 27 plus years of making knives it is important to grow and mature as a craftsman. Keeping a face on your knives that have a family resemblance is important to the continuity of your work.
I am now 43 years old, born in 1961. Besides knife making, I am also a public high school teacher of 21 years. I teach engineering design, robotics and computer networking. I have four children, Ryan 11, Benjamin 10, Sarah 7 and Jaime 3 (named after Jim Schmidt). The majority of my current work involves producing folding knives. My love of folders goes back to when I was a young boy. The variety and complexity of these knives provides me endless enjoyment in both designing and constructing these useful tools. You can be assured of extreme precision and craftsmanship in these folding wonders.
Damascus steel is the ancient art of combining high and low carbon steels. Through this marriage of metals a cutting tool is produced that is both functional and beautiful. The inherent beauty of the blade can be manipulated through patterning techniques to arrive at an array of distinct patterns. The damascus steel I use in constructing blades is a 01 and 1018 mix, 384 layers. Pattern development is generally ladder pattern or a tight triple twist. The bolsters are nickel and 1018, 144 layers. I forge and heat-treat all of my own damascus. A particular pattern can be provided through a customers request.
The technique of Piquet' is an old method used in France and England in the latter part of the 19th century. It involves placing pins, silver or gold, in a designated pattern. Generally the holes were drilled first and the pins were placed in the holes. In tortoise sometimes they heated the pins and inserted them directly into the scales without pre-drilling. Some of the knives pictured show the Piquet' work.
Presently there is a 36 months waiting list on knife orders. I believe a custom knife should meet the desires of a customer. I am willing to work with you to personalize your knife. My procedure for taking orders requires a 25 % deposit.
A few recent awards to my credit are Jim Schmidt Award, ECCKS 2002 and Best Folder Award, C.I.C. show in Milan 2003."
If you would like to order a knife from Barry Davis please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact him directly by email under email@example.com .
Barry Davis is a member of the CORPORATIONE ITALIANA COLTELLINAI and THE KNIFEMAKERS´ GUILD.
INTERVIEW WITH BARRY DAVIS