I recently got in touch with Lucas Burnley, and he was kind enough to answer some questions for me for this blog post (Thanks again, Lucas! You rock!).
Lucas’s interest and skill in design is transparent on his website before you even look at any of his work, which I think is awesome. Here are some things I learned from talking to him:
(Lucas emailed these pictures to me)
His first knife
“The first knife I made was a big hunk of 01 tool steel, kind of a field knife. I think I was 18 or so at the time and had just started picking up books on the subject.
“I worked in a shop that made body piercing jewelry and they let me stay late and use some of the equipment.”
What sets his knives apart
“That’s kind of a tough question; I can’t really say how my knives differ from others, only things that I feel are important to me. These are of course not specific only to me.
“I put a lot of thought into the overall form of the knife, small details like open and closed visuals, proportion and line as well as function.
“From there it’s all fit and finish, a knife can’t be judged on the design alone if the work doesn’t stand up to a certain standard.”
His favorite knife makers
“Ha, I have quite a few and for different reasons.
“Joe Cordova was the first knifemaker I ever met, and he’s a true craftsman. I’m proud to call him a friend. He’s answered more questions than I could list and was always up for a shop visit, I owe him a great deal.
“Bob Terzuola is another, both for his innovations as well as his work ethic and quality. He’s one of the best.”
Where he gets his design ideas from
“Too broad to list. I guess it comes down to the type of knife, application and look that I’m going after.
“Most people at this point will recognize the Kwaiken (pictured below) as my most prolific design. The original that the folder was based off of was a fixed blade. That one was a really purpose-driven design and intentionally simple.
“The folder was designed to mimic the lines of the original.
“On older knives like the Pelican (pictured below) etc., the design is a bit more stylistic and exaggerated.
“Combat knives like the Striker (pictured below) are back to clean and functional.
“In whatever I design I try and add my own influence (and) style.”
Advice for budding knife makers
(CRKT Burnley Obake pictured below)
“Pay your dues. What I mean by that is to start simple and learn the basics.
Understanding your materials, tools, and learning the principles of good design are the building blocks of what we do.
“Don’t rush it, get some books, and go to work.
“I made quite a few knives with hand files. I wouldn’t particularly want to revisit those days, but I’m thankful for the experience.
“At this point I have to recommend learning how to work with CAD; in the long run it will prove to be a very valuable skill. That said, understanding CAD does not make you a knife maker. This is where the basics come into play.
“Learn to do things right.”