Here’s the first interview of our new series: “Know Your Knife Maker“. We’ll regularly publish interviews with knife makers from all over the world. Today we are pleased to have with us Les George from GeorgeKnives.
1. Hello Les. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
well I was born at a very young age, as I am told. I don’t really recall, I was drinking in those days.
Right now, I have been married to my awesome wife, Bianca for 12 years. We met in Africa and we have 3 dogs, we both work out of the house so we don’t get out much.
2. What is a knife to you?
A knife is how I interface with the world around me. By nature we humans are poorly suited to survive without tools
, and a knife is the first tool you need and the last one I would give up.
3. How long have you been making knives?
I sold my first knife in 1992, it was the 2nd knife I had made.
4. What got you into making knives?
As a 12 year old kid, my parents didnt let me buy a knife that I wanted, so I asked them if I could make my own. My Dad kinda scoffed and told me to go ahead. I found the Step-by-step knife making book by David Boye, and figured it would be easy. I spent 2 weeks with one hacksaw blade cutting out a strip of steel from a curricular saw blade. Turns out that is the story of my life, I never know when the smart money is on stopping!
The VECP V3.
6. What is your favorite steel to work with? Why?
I really like CTS-XHP. I have tested it very thoroughly and have a good idea of how its going to work in a given application. Its important to note that there are no bad materials anywhere in the world. There are only improper applications of materials. A material that will work well for one application would be horrible for another. As knifemakers, as designers and builders of things, we have to weight all the properties of a material, find the right balance of give and take for what we want and make a decision.
7. What inspires you?
8. What is in your pockets?
Right this second I am caring a ZT0909 and a Glock 19.
9. What is your favorite knife? Why?
I think my favorite knife is the M1918 LF&C trench knife. I love historical daggers due to there single minded design. I love specialized tools. We live in a world the requires multi use tools and I use them too, but a tool that has one job is always a thing of beauty. I think that the M1918 is an awesome example of that. When you hold one, you feel it.
9. What is your least favorite knife? Why?
I don’t think I have a single knife that I dislike in particular.
10. What would you change about the industry?
I think that with the advent of the information age and the simple fact that most knives are sold over the internet there has been a fundamental change in knife design in recent years. Knife design used to be based a lot more on the feel of a knife when it was to be sold at a show, to a person holding it. Now it seems that it has taken more of a graphic arts turn as we compete for interest on the digital screen. A knifemaker has to make a visual impact on someone to stop them from scrolling by their work long enough to be interested in it and ultimately buy it. As a result of this, some knife makers have sacrificed feel and practicality in use for visual impact. Everyone has seen knives that a very striking in appearance, but you know that you would not be able to use it long without discomfort or injury. The best knifemakers can make a knife that is usable and visually appealing, the rest of just just do the best we can!
11. What would you keep the same?
The people. Even the crazy OCD people that drive me crazy, God bless everyone crazy one of ya!