Knife Artist- Mr. J. J. Smith III

Millions of knives are used everyday. You may have even used yours today too. We cut, stabbed, sliced and carved, but how many of you used your knife to scrape? Yes, you read that right, I said scrape.

Allow me to introduce Mr. J. J. Smith III– a master scraper. When I first saw his work I incorrectly assumed he whittled, but he informed me- he scrapes.

Two things you will find interesting- one is what he crafts and the other is what he crafts with. Better yet, I know of no way to explain his talent other than to show you.  He works with his hands and his knife to scrape some of the most unusual art I have seen.

Bowl of Peach Pits

Bowl of Peach Pits

Let’s start with what he uses as his raw material.

Rumor has it he “carves” while watching his daughters practice soccer.

Now let’s see what little creatures and creations lie beneath that outer shell of the seeds.


Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 7:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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We must act to de-weaponize knives

We have our work cut out for us. Knives are almost universally viewed as weapons today. I see it everyday here at CNJ as I read through various news stories involving knives.

Man banned from carrying knife to church in NC

It really hit me this morning as I read about a man who may get kicked out of church because he wears his knife on his belt. It is a sad story. The particulars of this one situation aren’t the point here, instead what is is we- the knife manufacturers, knife industry and collectors must act in together to help people understand the danger is not the knife, instead, if there is one, it is the person.

Show and Tell

Folks nowadays are frequently shocked when we collectors pull out our knife. I witnessed it firsthand just the other day. I was part of a show and tell exercise in a small group meeting.

I took my favorite knife and when it was my time to show and tell, I pulled it from my pocket- you could feel the air being sucked out of the room as everyone gasped. Now I must admit the knife is a large pocket knife, but nothing like a bowie, or large fixed blade. It is simply a large pocket knife, that’s all. Most were even scared to handle it as it was passed around the room.

Knives have become weaponized and are viewed by society as a dangerous object that can be wielded at any moment.

Tom Arrowsmith, the president of W. R. Case, said, in his interview here at CNJ, his firm works very hard not to promote or foster the public’s perception of knives as weapons, but many makers do.

I don’t have the answer but if those in positions of influence could work with our clubs and associations to brainstorm ways to address this P R problem before we end up with all knives outlawed. Slowly community by community, municipality by municipality are tightening knife laws. And unfortunately groups like Knife Rights simply don’t have the manpower, or funding to combat this.

I’m not sure fighting this on a national political basis is the answer anyway. Instead, I see it as changing people’s attitudes.


I’d love to see a national whittling contest sponsored by a large manufacturer,  like Cattaraugus Cutlery Co. did back in the 19450s.

We need the various knife clubs, associations, and even manufacturers working together to educate young people, and their parents, on knives. Knives provide utility, fun and a worthwhile hobby, educating on properly handling knives and the fun projects knives can be used for.


We must pull together

Here’s where I am on this– It’s time to act. If you are a part of a knife group (online or off), club or association, or if you are a maker, executive or worker of a manufacturer- we need your help. A plan needs developed and implemented, on a grassroots level to help folks see knives aren’t bad. No, the bad is caused by people. And even if you took all the knives out of circulation, like they are trying to do in the UK, bad guys will still cause harm and kill.

All one has to do is look back through the history of this great country to see the important role knives have played- both as a work tool and pastime recreation.

Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 9:29 am  Comments (4)  
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