LifeKnives History
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Early in my career as an artisan and full time knife and swordmaker, my teacher for over 30 years, Yogi Bhajan, suggested that I use my artistic gifts to create things that uplift and inspire people. It was then around 1982-83 a customer requested me to create a miniature necklace knife in 22kt. gold. I was happy to oblige and created something that he was quite pleased with and even had a few gems set in it also. With my background in gold and silversmithing, it occurred to me to make a rubber mold of the piece before delivering it, with the thought that I might be able to sell similar pieces in sterling silver. This would be to friends, colleagues, customers at knife shows, and a new market of yoga students and other Sikh religion adoptees (who wear a sacred knife-called 'Kirpan' by Sikhs) to help remind them to be protectors of the weak and innocent - one of the tenets of the religion.
That was the beginning of LifeKnives. Soon after I created a larger piece in gold as a gift and made a rubber mold of that as well. Both of these styles are still part of the LifeKnife line of more than 25 original patterns currently offered.
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The Process
Generally we'll create a pattern then have an accomplished engraver/sculptor, here in the USA (who we're well connected with through our full sized decorative knife and sword business) work into that model to complement our work and help to create something unique and special.
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Thinking that it might be neat to have some kind of natural gemstone/shell/horn to use as the knife handles on certain LifeKnives, many years ago now I ordered a batch of fluted ivory beads (before the ban on importing ivory) from a company I was doing business with. Eventually they were kind enough to give me the name of their overseas supplier who I contacted and ordered beads from for about 10 years. These beads were made to my specifications so as to have the excellent proportions for certain LifeKnife designs. We have several overseas suppliers now. In 1999 we found some ideally shaped colorful Chinese cloisonné enamel beads that we are utilizing currently in several LifeKnife styles.
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On the horizon we are looking to create a number of new patterns incorporating intricate, natural gemstone and shell inlay work on LifeKnife handles and a line of Battle Axes.