Story by Joshua Swanagon, Photos by Jim Cooper (SharpByCoop Photography)
It would be hard to argue against the fact that the Loveless patterns are some of the most influential and copied designs in knifedom.
After getting his start in 1954, selling over one thousand of his “Delaware Maids” model to Abercrombie & Fitch—that he freely admitted was a copy of a Randall design, which he ironically outsold—R.W. Loveless began making his own innovations in 1960, which set him apart.
Responsible for the design of the hollow ground drop point blade, full tapered tangs and screw-type handle fasteners, Loveless has been cited by knife makers and collectors as one of the most innovative custom knife makers in the world. In 1972, Loveless introduced the knife world to 154CM steel and ATS-34 stainless steel and forged the way for using Micarta for handle scale material.
Loveless’ contributions to the knife world carry on today, not only in the materials, construction and innovations he introduced, but also in his iconic designs that can be found in many custom makers catalogs to this day. The Loveless patterns range from hunters to fighters and are elegant in their simplicity, yet robust in their performance.
It is hard to miss a Loveless pattern when you see one, but I never get tired of seeing the different personalization custom makers add when they make a Loveless. As demonstrated in the knives below, each maker has a style of their own—that they add to this classic design—and it is a pleasure to see their interpretation of his iconic designs.
“When a man picks up a knife, there’s an old memory from the collective unconscious that surfaces. A knife is an atavistic experience. It was man’s first tool and weapon. Man was chipping flint into cutting edges before he invented the wheel. No matter how sophisticated we become, a knife takes us back to the cave.” R.W. Loveless, “On the Cutting Edge” Sports Illustrated, July 14, 1980.
With hunting season just around the corner—and already upon some of us—I decided to focus on Loveless’ drop point hunting pattern (with one exception that is not a drop point). But make sure to join us next month as we continue through hunting season with an assortment of beautiful custom hunting knives.
Stay sharp and keep it real. K&G
Model: Full Integral Dropped HunterBlade Material: CPM-154Blade Length: 4 inchesOverall Length: 8.25 inchesHandle Material: Rocky Mountain BighornBolster: Integral CPM-154Website: www.CarlColsonKnives.comFacebook: @CarlColsonKnivesInstagram: @CarlColsonKnives
Model: 3.5-inch Dropped Point HunterBlade Material: RWL-34Blade Length: 3.5 inchOverall Length: Not providedHandle Material: Sambar StagBolster: 416 Stainless SteelNote: This is the rare 3.5-inch Loveless Designed Dropped Point. Made from the original pattern in the Loveless shop, using techniques learned from both Bob Loveless and Jim Merritt.Website: www.LinKnives.comInstagram: @LinKnives
Model: The EndeavorBlade Material: AEB-LBlade Length: 3.75 inchesOverall Length: 8.75 inchesHandle Material: Mammoth IvoryBolster: 416 Stainless SteelWebsite: www.PaulLuskKnives.comFacebook: @PaulLuskKnivesInstagram: @PaulLuskKnives
Model: Muledeer HunterBlade Material: CPM-154Blade Length: 3.5 inchesOverall Length: 8.375 inchesHandle Material: Sheep HornBolster: 303 Stainless SteelWebsite: NoneFacebook: NoneInstagram: None
Model: Loveless Styled Utility HunterBlade Material: CPM-154Blade Length: 4.125 inchesOverall Length: 8.5 inchesHandle Material: Mammoth IvoryBolster: Stainless SteelWebsite: www.JohnAprilKnives.comInstagram: @JohnAprilKnives
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Joshua Swanagon has studied survival in both urban and wilderness environments in Colorado and Michigan for most of his life, while also adding experience in harsher terrains abroad. He utilizes his experience and years of diverse martial arts and combatives training and real world application as a self-defense/combatives instructor, published freelance writer and Field Editor for various magazines in the fields of knives, survival, self-defense and tactical subject matters. Joshua also brings with him his years of experience as Editor of, and Subject Matter Expert for, Knives Illustrated Magazine.
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