The online community of knife collectors, A Knife Family Forged in Steel
If you have spent any time browsing iKC over the last two years, you will have come across the work of member Kevin Drummond at one point or another. He’s that guy who seems to find really neat old knives, bayonets, and tools, and performs great soft restorations on them all. Even if you’re not a direct follower of his work, you can’t help but see his occasional postings of his latest conquest and challenge.
To say I appreciate his work is an understatement. I personally think he has wicked skills and abilities when it comes to fixing bent blades, replacing bayonet scales, refurbishing an old plane, or restoring one of his PAL knives to its former glory while retaining its age and history.
One such piece he restored was his beet harvesting knife, which he shared with us all back in August of 2023, “Took too long - A Sugar Beet Knife by Clyde Cutlery Co.”
It is nothing less than magnificent – as old knives go – and I fell in love with it immediately. I added my comments, I emailed him, we text about it – I was just captivated by his work in restoring that almighty garden tool – the humble beet harvesting knife.
Then I shared it with my wife, Beth. I went on and on about it. This was not new to her, as I have bragged about Kevin’s work to her on his other pieces as well – namely his bayonets. Now she knows I love beets. In fact, being Polish and not liking beets is a sin. It says so in the book of Wadjehowski, chapter 11, verse 7; “Thou shall love thy beets with all your mind, body, and soul, and share them with all who may enter there in. Thou shall not place any other veggie before them.” Paraphrased of course.
Anyway, unbeknownst to me, Beth contacted Kevin and solicited his help in securing a beet knife as a gift for me, then commissioned him to restore it in a “manner as he sees fit”. Oh – are you kidding me? Artistic license…Wow!
So here it is just in time to receive it for Christmas – my fully restored and functional beet harvesting knife (a.k.a. Zombie Killer) by Kevin Drummond. This knife, as I understand it, is a “partial” restoration. The carbon steel blade has been cleaned and sharpened to be fully functional, while the handle is all new. It’s fitted with a vulcanized black fiber spacer, a thin piece of brass, another piece of black spacer material, and redwood burl scales fitted with new brass pins.
And…if this isn’t the coolest thing ever, I received a bonus – this wonderful Corn knife. Looking at it and holding it in my hand I came to the same conclusion as you are right now. You’re thinking “what a cool brisket knife!” I know…me too! And it is! I used it to carve a three bone prime rib on New Year’s day. It’s just the coolest knife ever for the butcher block.
I have so much more to share about both of these knives, but I’ll save that for a future posting. I do know that it was quite a feat for the two of them to not trip up and let it out that this was going on.
In the meantime – please join me in appreciating a great gift from Beth, and a great gift from Kevin whose work and craftsmanship I deeply admire. It’s an honor to have these restored works of art from him.
I am absolutely thrilled that Lars finds enjoyment in the work I was able to do for him. His wife, Beth, gets major kudos for pulling this off! I was like a little kid on Christmas morning with the anticipation if my friend would actually like them; but I was many states away. She was right there. Every day.
Anyway, now that Lars has shared some photos, would you like to see where these started from?
The Beet Knife:
I was very happy that I was given full 'license' on these knives. This beet knife I took that license and made what I like to think of as improvements in the handle. This one was a little bit of a juxtaposition between a full blown re-do and trying to retain some of the historical appeal of it. This knife lacked any sort of maker's mark, so I felt that it was the safer of the two to alter.
The Corn Knife:
This knife I tried to retain as much of its history and originality as I could, while at the same time 'fixing' the handle's short comings and rust. The original pins (rivets?) were steel and because of the rust, stained the wood so badly that I could not remove it. I was able to reuse the pins/rivets, but you can still see the streaks of the staining in the handle. That is the original wood baby! :)
The use of the knife through the ages ( I am estimating this was 1920s or 1930s), caused many chips along the edge and the blade itself to develop several bends. The bends I was able to slowly and carefully work out without messing with the original heat treat. The edge was a new challenge for me. This originally had a Scandinavian (scandi) grind on it. I have never dealt with that before, so something new to learn, right? As careful as I thought I was, it still got me three times while smoothing the edge back out. As easily as it sliced me, I am going to go out on a limb and say that it will cut any brisket Lars wants to use it on! LOL!
Trying to wrap my portion of the story up, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude and thanks to Beth and Lars for their patience and willingness to entrust these pieces to my excuse for reworking them. While I see a couple of things that I can improve on, that is just the nature of the beast when you work on something, right?
So glad that you appreciate them Lars!
Oh thanks for filling in some of the gaps here Kevin and for the "before" photos. This is really good stuff. There is always two sides to a great story - I am glad that you shared some of your perspectives here on this.
All I know is that there were quite a few evenings you and I were swapping texts, and again while you and I were pursuing those Swiss swords...apparently you and Beth were also texting regarding these knives - presumably updates I suppose. She has since told me that it was hard for her to keep a straight face and look "interested" when I was sharing our adventures with her, and simply stated "you two are like little boys on the play ground!". Little did I know she was talking knife tech with you!
And by the way - the beets in the photos above? We they got processed using the beet knife tonight. Wacked those greens and root tips clean off, and I still have my fingers!
Er ... Mer ... Grd ...! Okay, this is all SO COOL!
SO SWEET of your wife to conspire with a knife restoration artist IN YOUR FAVOR, & time it all for Christmas. For Beet's Sake!
I'm just floored by all this. The story, the planning & coordination, the sincerity of your appreciation for it all...
And the knives themselves!!!! The beet knife is just beyond stunning, & the corn-knife-turned-carving-knife is just BRILLIANT!
So here it is, just over a week into 2024, but I think you've got the post of the year here, already. And I really hope to see that first photo of the beet knife in the next calendar (incredible photography, by the way!)... :)
SUPER!!!!!! Wonderful story, wonderful gifts ..... and, I am so glad Lars still has his fingers!!!!!
Thanks guys for your supportive comments - it's always gratifying when your peers appreciate your knives as much you do, and they certainly esteem Kevin and his craft. I love to gush over everyone else's knives - and it's fun to have a piece from one of our own.
Wanna come over and harvest some beets? :-D
Now if I can just get Beth to get Kevin to make a Damascus feather-patterned blade like what Dennis has....hmmmmm