CLEAN LINES AND STRIKING DESIGNS
Always on the lookout for outstanding talent, I like to quietly peruse the different knife pages on Facebook and look for designers with such striking work that I am compelled to take a deeper look at their portfolio. Travis Fleming of Fleming’s Fabrications out of Greenville, Texas is one such designer. When I first saw his work, I couldn’t help myself but to get drawn into his company page, and before I knew it, a significant amount of time had passed and I was still looking through the body of his work.
From hobbyist to making a mark, Travis Fleming is creating knives that make even the casual onlooker take a second look.
01 It’s Always the Friend
In 2008, Travis was introduced to knifemaking when a friend showed him, step by step, the entire process of making a kitchen knife. From that point on, he was hooked. Due to his recognition of the value of a good knife from childhood, Travis’s newfound interest in knifemaking soon grew to an obsession.
02 The Challenges
He finds his biggest challenge in setting himself apart from other knifemakers, which he finds to be a daunting task. Although he tried to find designs that would please the end-user, he found that sticking to what he loves ended in a better product for his customers.
03 Do What Moves You
I asked what his favorite style of knife is to make and he said the Bowie. Not because he feels it is an appropriate EDC or hunting knife, or that it is even practical in this modern world we live in, but simply because it is a sexy design with a great history. No argument there.
04 One Maker, Two Styles
Travis has been using stock removal for most of his career, but has recently added forging to his list of capabilities, only expanding the possibilities.
05 Material Preference
When it comes to high carbon steels, Travis likes to work with 1095, 1084, W2 and 80CRV2. But for stainless steels he prefers AEB-L for kitchen and skinning knives and CPM-154 for all others. He likes any kind of handle material he can process himself, and enjoys walking the woods with his chainsaw and looking for the perfect burl knot. He and his wife do all their own wood stabilizing inhouse, and are even working with resin casting hybrids.
It is no surprise that Travis tops his list of inspirations with Bob Loveless—one of the most influential names in the custom knife industry, until his death in 2010. But the list doesn’t stop there, although he said it is a very long and distinguished list. He mentioned names the likes of Harvey Dean, Jerry Fisk, Nick Wheeler, Daniel Pica, Troy Hawley, and Claudio Sobral.
07 A Little of Both
Travis has a couple of production models in a Bushcraft model and Hunter model, but does do custom work, although he really calls it “semicustom” because they are usually when a customer wants a current model with their own flare to it. KI
Top Knife: Bushcrafter model. Forged 1095 high carbon steel. The handles are stabilized mesquite burl cast in green Alumilite resin. This is one of the new hybrid handle scales being made inhouse.
Bottom Knife: EDC Model. The Blade is Nitro-v stainless steel. The handle is made from black paper Micarta with white and black G-10 liners and stainless steel mosaic pins.