Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Blackie Collins the knife maker passed on last week.
He never seemed to get the publicity, I always thought, like Randall or Loveless. Perhaps it was because he didn’t make exclusive fixed blades. Instead he designed knives and sold the rights to manufacturers. Of course, when manufacturers cheapened the design, took manufacturing short-cuts and produced less than ordinary products, you know who got the black eye. As a result it seems much of his talent was relegated to the position of spear carrier while the stars took the center stage.
Still, he founded Blade Magazine, one of the leading voices in today’s knife culture. His Strut’N’Cut knife helped fuel the assisted opening knife craze. And there cannot be any doubt this self-taught knife maker influenced what you carry in your pocket.
I had the opportunity to meet him years ago at a SHOT Show in Las Vegas. I was at the Meyerco booth when the factory rep said:
“Do you know Blackie Collins?”
“I’ve heard of him, but I don’t know him.”
“Would you like to meet him?
Of course I said yes, expecting a short hello, a hand shake and a few seconds of idle chatter.
I got the hand shake and more.
“Would you like to see my newest design? Blackie asked, while unrolling a 6-foot long sheet of paper. There, in large scale, was one huge drawing of a knife he was designing. He explained the design, talked about the steel and manufacturing problems. It was wonderful and I still regret I didn’t have my present understanding of steel and knives. I would have been able to understand the significance so much more.
Then he posed for pictures with my wife holding his knives.
Graciousness. That’s an attribute that fitted Blackie Collins. I’ve meet other designers. Talked with knife company owners, even gotten a few freebies to try out. They have been nice, charming and interesting, but I don’t associate graciousness with anyone else.
I did a quick Google search and found a quote I want to share with you:
“There’s no high like creativity.” Blackie Collins.
Rest In Peace, Blackie. We’ll miss you.