Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 9

Left: Working from his forge and shop in Cedar Hill,
Hank Knickmeyer is one of the premier knifemakers in
the U.S. Below: A steel bar bearing the initials of the
Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America is just
one of many Hank has crafted over the years for the
creation of his knives.

who crafts the handles. One example - one of very few not yet claimed by the
collectors who clamor for a Hank Knickmeyer showpiece - is a true masterwork. Grapes and grape leaves adorn the blade, and the motif is repeated with
golden grape clusters on the handle. The handle itself is a richly stained and
polished piece of 2,000-year-old oak pulled from a bog in Belgium.
Like the rare bog oak, the handles that Hank chooses to compliment his
knives have their own historic charm and origins. One blade using the deer
pattern is set in a 12,000-year-old piece of fossilized walrus tusk. Still another
knife reuses what was once probably part of an Inuit fish net weight. Such
materials don't come cheaply, but they also help raise the piece's worth.
"Once you have the steel you're trying to add to the value of it as much
as possible," Hank says. It takes a lot of equipment around the shop to produce such fine work, including air hammers, forges, rolling mills, hydraulic
presses, sanders and grinders to name but a few. Throw in learning how to
use all of it properly plus developing a project, it's easy to get several years and
thousands of dollars into the process.
"It takes a lot of equipment to do things efficiently," Hank says, and then
adds with a laugh, "Knifemaking is not a cheap hobby."
While the market drew Hank into the craft, a lifetime of friendships forged
with other blacksmiths and knifemakers has kept his own creative fire burning bright with enthusiasm and ideas. Every summer following the industry's
BLADE Show, Hank and his wife, Bonita, host an informal gathering of master
knifemakers at Hank's Cedar Hill shop. It gives those smiths who often spend
photo courtesy PointSeven Studios

their days together demonstrating and instructing a chance to collaborate and
experiment on new ideas with their peers.
"I won't say we get tired of answering questions because people really want
the information, but we don't get to learn from each other very much at those
things," Hank says. "This is one of the things I look forward to because it really
is great fun."
Although he has traveled and taught around the world, Hank is not the only
renowned Missouri bladesmith. He says the state has produced more than its
fair share of quality knifemakers. Thanks to the efforts of organizations such as
the Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America and Blacksmiths Association of Missouri to put on workshops and pass on knowledge, he's optimistic
that reputation will continue.
"It's probably because we have a strong blacksmithing interest," Hank says,
adding that this metal working culture is repeated on either side of the ShowMe State in Kansas and Illinois. "It's a good group here. Missouri has been
really supportive of the groups doing blacksmithing as well as knifemaking."
For information on Hank Knickmeyer's knives, call Hank at 636-285-3210 or
email hankknickmeyer@me.com.
Below left: This is another of Hank and Chantal's elaborate creations. Below right: One of
many tools Hank uses in his trade is a 1917 air hammer built by Nazel. The pneumatic machine
strikes in exactly the same place while the steel is hot, which helps shape the piece.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - February 2018

Contents
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - Contents
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 4
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 5
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 6
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 7
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 8
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 9
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 10
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 11
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 12
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 13
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 14
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 15
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 16
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 17
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 18
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 19
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 20
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 21
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 22
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 23
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 24
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 25
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 26
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 27
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 28
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 29
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 30
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 31
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 32
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 33
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 34
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 35
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 36
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 37
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 38
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - February 2018 - Cover4
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