Knives from the Copper State Cutlery Knife Show

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Chuck Stapel R.I.P.

The knife world has lost another great as it was reported on his Facebook page

Chuck Stapel – Knife Maker to the Stars (1942 – 2016)

chuck stapel

Chuck Stapel began making knives at the age of ten, when he discovered that he didn’t like the handle of a paring knife he got as a birthday present, and decided to make his own! He already had some training from his father, who had dabbled in knife making most of his life as well. His father’s interest began in the Navy during World War II, when, while stationed on a LCS in the Pacific, he began taking old hacksaws and files, and making them into works of art. He later presented some of his works to his son, which helped inspire Chuck to shape creations of his own. 

Taking the craft of knife making seriously after high school, Chuck continued to hone his skill, and after building his own workshop, spent every available moment working on new designs and techniques. Living his whole life in Los Angeles, California, only a short walk to most of the Hollywood Studios, Chuck’s knives soon found themselves not only in movies and television shows, but in the private collections of many of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

After becoming a champion trap, skeet and sporting clay shooter, Chuck began to be invited to many celebrity charity events, wherein he was asked to make “Trophy Knives” for the top prizes and for charity auctions. He was embraced by the world of Country/Western music stars as well, who also became great fans of his work.

  Chuck’s knives have appeared in dozens of movies such as “Quigley Down Under”,“Switchback”, “No Mercy”, and “Little Nikita”; in hundreds of commercials; and in countless television shows such as “Wildside”, “Magnificent Seven”, “Thunder In Paradise”, “Walker: Texas Ranger”, “Knightrider”, “Jason and the Argonauts”, and “Magnum P.I.”

       His knives are prized as works of art, and collector’s items, and are displayed at many museums, such as the Roy Rogers Museum, and Gene Autry Western Museum, and in the private collection’s all over the world, including such celebrities as Robert Stack, Tom Selleck, Roy “Dusty” Rogers, Jr., Chuck Norris, the Mandrell Sisters, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, and John Milius.


Chuck had made to order and donated knives to over two hundred charities, including Paralyzed Veterans, Quails Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, Wild Turkey Federation, California Waterfowl, Irlene Mandrel’s Wish Upon A Star Charity shoot, the Boy Scouts of America, St. Jude Hospital, the Hollywood Celebrity Shoot, the Charlton Heston Celebrity Shoot, Ben Johnson’s Celebrity Rodeo for “Little Britches”, Pike’s Peak Charity Rodeo, Roy Roger’s “Happy Trails” charity, the Holy Cross Children’s Hospital and Free Clinic, to name just a few.

       As an investment, Chuck’s knives are traded, sold and exchanged all over the world. In fact Chuck holds the record for one of the highest prices paid for a custom knife when one of his specialty knives was sold for over $12,000 at the Irlene Mandrel Celebrity Wish Upon A Star Shoot, held at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in 1999.

       With the introduction of his exclusive website, Chuck can now offer his “One of a Kind” knives to enthusiasts and collectors all over the word with a click of a mouse button. He will also be offering a special “knife of the month”, limited edition numbered  knifes, collectibles and corporate gift items. He especially enjoys the chance to be able to impart his own personal story and history behind each of his knives for everyone to read!

     Chuck divides his time these days between his knife studio in Los Angeles, and another in Hawaii. He spends a lot of time traveling to dozens of charity events where he both competes in shooting sports and creates special knives. 

     He is the father of two children and six grandchildren. His son is also a knife maker, and Chuck is especially proud of his grandson who has just completedhis first knife… with just a little bit of help from his Grandpa!

Legend

There are some knife makers and some knives that would fit this description, legend. Gil Hibben is one such maker along with his Ed Parker Kenpo Knife.

In 1968 Gil designed the Kenpo Knife (sometimes called the Ed Parker Fighting Knife) for his black belt thesis on knife fighting using Kenpo tactics. His thesis became the basis of the Kenpo system’s Long Form VIII (the double dagger form) which uses two knives in mock combat.) Over the years Gil has made several of the handmade versions of his Kenpo knives including knives that were presented to Ed Parker and Elvis Presley.

What Gil has said about the knife; On the one that I designed in 1968 – the ‘Parker knife’ – I put a slight angle on the guard which allows you to put your thumb up on it. This incorporates what we call a Chinese fist – where we have a greater muscle structure in the wrist holding the knife and you are able to manoeuvre more and in a much faster way to protect yourself” Hibben explained. “This slight angle on the guard also works if you turn the knife in a back position and it still fits very comfortably. So the blade is basically a standard fighter’s blade that has been around for a very long time.”

Parker Kenpo Knife

Parker Kenpo Knife

He continued: “The major part of it is the handle design in the way that the blade can be used with the grip. We put finger grooves along the bottom for absolute control so that you won’t be able to have it taken out of your hand. The guard also protects you from your opponent’s blade but it can also be used as part of the offensiveness of the knife. A lot of thought has gone into the design of it.”

“He also explained that the back of the weapon allows you to hook or to catch and also affords protection if you have it forward in the front part of the hand. This section can also be used to strike with after a cut, or to keep from cutting depending on the situation.

“Of course, you wouldn’t want to cut anyone unless you had to – say in a wartime situation We made a lot of these types of knives during the Vietnam War days and we sent a lot of them over there. So, unfortunately they received some action. But you don’t like to think about those things, “Hibben added.

Gil Hibben

Gil Hibben

Gil Hibben came out of the Navy in 1956 and went to work for Boeing. He began making knives part time and sold his first one for $45. He became a full time maker in 1963-65 after moving to Sandy, UT. He has lived in places such as Arkansas, Alaska, Missouri and finally settled in Kentucky.

He has designed the Rambo III knife for Silvester Stallone. He has created a yearly fantasy design for United Cutlery. He was inducted in the Blade Magazine Knifemakers Hall of Fame in 1990. His knives have been featured or seen in such movies as The Perfect Weapon, Under Siege, Star Trek – Generations, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Rambo and The Expendables.

He has been inducted in the Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame, International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame and the Action Martial Arts Magazine Hall of Fame.

He has been elected as president of the Knife Makers Guild three times. In 2007 he Celebrated his 50th year as a custom knifemaker. To this date Gil still makes knives in his shop every day in La Grange, KY

Marc Larsen Bowie Knife

Marc Larsen was a very talented knife maker from Camp Verde, Arizona. He learned most of his craft from Tim Hancock. He forged his own steel and Damascus. Now in his late 70’s, he’s pretty much retired from knife making. Here is an excellent example of the knives he produced:

 

Straight Back Damascus Bowie Knife

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Click here to purchase this knife

Bill Cheatham

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Custom knife maker Bill Cheatham from Laveen, AZ stopped by to visit our tables at the gun show this morning

Barry & I

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Here I am with knife maker Barry Dawson of Dawson Knives at the Crossroads of the West Gun Show being held at the Univ. of Phoenix Arena in Glendale this weekend