RIS­ING TAL­ENT

CLEAN LINES AND STRIK­ING DE­SIGNS

Knives Illustrated - - News - STORY BY JOSHUA SWANAGON – PHO­TOS BY TRAVIS FLEM­ING

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.

06 In­spired

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.

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