Taizer himself is most proud of the fact that American soldiers took his knives with them to Iraq. Tyser knives are not only among the soldiers, but even among the generals.
Anticipating possible questions as to why Ross Tyser became the hero of my essay, I will answer that there are two reasons for this. First. fate was pleased to bring me to the small town of Spartanburg, in the state of South Carolina. And since travelers keep their ears and eyes open to everything new and unusual, I could not help but be interested in the opportunity to meet with Ross Tyser, about whom my American friends spoke with admiration and called nothing else as a "supplier for Hollywood stars."
But not only Hollywood stars buy knives of the handicraftsman-clinician Ross Tyser. His clients include a local veterinarian, dog sled racers and knife collectors. But Taizer himself is most proud of the fact that American soldiers took his knives with them to Iraq. Tyser knives are not only among the soldiers, but even among the generals. Suffice it to say that one of the collectors of Ross Taiser knives is General Norman Schwarzkopf.
Recently, one of the channels of Russian television began rerunning the series Murder, She Wrote, in which John DiSanti plays the main male role. He also collects knives made by Ross Tyser. But this is so, by the way.
You shouldn't think that Ross Tayser is some kind of local attraction that is shown to visiting guests. The person is busy with business, and he simply does not have time for empty talk.
The knife was perhaps one of the first objects made by man. First, pieces of stone were selected that could be used as cutting tools, and then their conscious production began. And, perhaps, it was the knife that contributed to the evolution of man to the same extent as man improved and developed the design of the knife as he developed.
With the advent of blacksmithing, the production of blades was put on stream. The blacksmith was considered by many to be akin to a sorcerer, capable of endowing objects made by him with magical power, such as the sword of King Arthur "Excalibur" possessed. Modern blademakers do not use magical powers to make their blades. True, one should not forget: in order to obtain the right to make blades, you need to go through a rather long and difficult process of training and professional development, and then pass an exam.
In order to be admitted to the apprenticeship exam, you must be a member of the American Blade Blacksmiths Guild for three years, or for two years, provided that the applicant has taken the course "Introduction to Blade Making" at the blacksmith's school. For the exam, the applicant must present a carbon steel knife forged by him. Knives with a total length of no more than 38 cm, a blade width of no more than 5 cm, and a length of no more than 25 cm are accepted for testing. Then the applicant is asked to cut a 5x10 cm board. (At the World Championship held by the Guild, the winner took 6 seconds to do this!) After that, experts examine the knife blade for damage, and then offer the applicant to shave his hand with the same blade. At the third stage, the applicant must bend the released blade of the knife submitted for testing at a right angle. If the blade breaks (a crack in the blade no more than two-thirds of its width is allowed), the exam is considered failed. If the applicant managed to pass the exam, then within three years after passing the exam, he must present to the experts five knives, which must be of the same quality as the one shown in the exam. If all knives meet the requirements, then the applicant receives the title of apprentice.
To be awarded the title of master, the same six knives must be submitted to the experts, but they must be made of Damascus steel.
“Blade-making is both a craft and an art,” Ross Taizer said at the meeting. - You take a strip of metal and a blank for the handle, which are nothing, and in your hands they turn into a work of art. You just need to remove all unnecessary ". (I've already heard this somewhere? Well, of course, Michelangelo: “I take a block of marble and cut off everything unnecessary.”)
Comprehension of the basics
Ross Tyser reports: “I've always wanted to do something with my hands. As a boy, I became interested in cutting and cutting stones. And it had to happen that the famous master Jerry Fisk needed a cut of amethyst to decorate a knife and he was recommended to contact me. This was in 1991. After a short conversation with Jerry, I realized that I always wanted to make knives.
For some time I could not make up my mind to finally break with the past and engage only in the manufacture of knives. I was tormented by doubts: “What if it doesn’t work? What if it doesn't work? What if it's not yours? " I still worked for a jewelry company, but at the same time I was learning the basics of forging blades at a school opened by the Guild. The school teaches the theory and practice of forging. Alas, but now most blades are made by turning from stamped blanks. It is easier, less expensive, and besides, it is more difficult to forge a stainless steel.
I started making knives in 1995. I must say that the course taken at school allows you to comprehend the basics, but not the secrets of mastery. I am grateful to fate that many years ago she brought me to Jerry Fisk. It was he who revealed to me the secrets and subtleties of working with various materials, including Damascus. But Jerry lives in another state, and the trip to him takes a lot of time. Therefore Jerry "passed" me from hand to hand to another famous handicraft clinician, Marvin Poole, who lives near me. Relatively nearby, but significantly closer than Jerry. Marvin also generously shared his knowledge with me and took the time to help me master various techniques for working with materials, both in the manufacture of the blades themselves and in the manufacture of handles. But that doesn't mean Jerry and I broke up. Unfortunately, I do not have a forge, so from time to time I visit Jerry and, thanks to his courtesy, use his forge to make some Damascus blanks and then work with them at home."
Loyalty to tradition
“Making a knife using the forging method certainly takes more time. But it's worth it. I can say about my knives that they are handmade from start to finish. And the work on the knife begins with a sketch. It is drawn with a pencil on a piece of paper.
Three years ago I made the final choice and left the jewelry company. Since then, he began to earn his daily bread by making knives. To be honest, I could not even hope that there would be a demand for my knives, sometimes exceeding my capabilities. Perhaps this is due to the fatigue of people from faceless mass production, they want to have things with a pronounced individuality.
Among the knife models I have created and embodied in metal, there are bowie knives, and hunting knives, and skinners, there are folding knives, and there are kitchen knives. If I have free time, then I sit down to work on a sketch of a knife, which will once again be put up for auction at the SHOT Show. Of course, I am flattered that my knives are in demand, that the prices for lots offered at charity auctions are going up quite high.
I understand that these knives are bought for collections. This is both a source of pride and grief. I make work knives. I make knives to be used. The beauty of the knife and the craftsmanship with which it is made should not be an obstacle to using the knife for its intended purpose."
When asked if he knew anything about Russian clinician handicraftsmen and knife production in Russia in general, Ross honestly replied that he knew practically nothing about his Russian colleagues. Some blade manufacturers are known in the United States for participating in the SHOT Show, but these are, as a rule, large enterprises that have the opportunity to take part in the famous arms exhibition in the world, and artisans are deprived of this opportunity. The Internet also cannot help: none of the American handicraftsmen speaks Russian, in order to independently find sites and forums where craftsmen and lovers of blade products communicate. Personal contacts are of great importance, but it would be nice if the American guild of handicraftsmen-clinicians established contacts with the relevant Russian organizations in order to establish mutually beneficial exchange and cooperation, because each blade master has not only something to tell and what to show to his colleagues, but also what to learn from them.
No matter what they say, knives have a unique attractive power, especially knives made by the hands of a master. It is difficult to imagine what would become of humanity if the knives suddenly disappeared. How would hunters do without knives? How difficult it would be to cope with the simplest household chores!
Of course, knives can be used and have been used repeatedly for black deeds. But is this the fault of the knife? Or is it the one who uses it for evil deeds to blame? No one will argue that a dog is man's best friend, but how can you dispute the assertion that a knife is the best invention of mankind? Especially if it is made by the hands of a master.