Well, my last outing on the river, I managed to lose my old Browning 373 Folding Pocket Knife. If anyone finds it and determines they don’t want to keep the old ragged thing, feel free to e-mail me…I’ll drive to get it. I have had this knife since I was probably 20 years old, and it’s been in my waders for at least 10 years. Anyway, gone!
I decided to start looking for a fixed blade knife. I have looked at the Bokers, Brownings, and a few custom knife makers (translation: $$$). I was about to pop on a Boker when I went to the Conway Gun Show. There were two “local” guys selling knives: One from Missouri my kid has bought a knife, and another one I couldn’t tell where they were from. Anyway, both guys had knives in the $60-100 range which is where I would anticipate a descent fixed blade knife. I decided in the end to wait since a buddy of mine Jeremy at Urban Timbers was sponsoring an Oak and Iron Crafter Market. I have never attended one of these, but one of the knife makers said they would be demonstrating iron working which one of my kids loves! They did in the morning, but by the time I got there at noon…It was almost 100 degrees. You couldn’t pay me to fire up a pit this summer!
Anyway, there were several vendors selling custom made knives. The first tent had so many people around it I decided to go to the second. There was a knife there I fell in love with. It was the perfect length, fit my hand perfectly, and I liked the design of the blade which included features and testing methods which would identify the guy – I won’t do this. He’s making some nice looking stuff, and his craft will get better with time. The knife I was looking at had fairly uneven grinds all over including the spine. I’m not a knife snob, but after watching Forged in Fire, I’ve learned a lot more. Also, the show Iron & Fire doesn’t hurt either since this a fantastic Arkansas guy. I figured a good $70-80 knife. A young man selling them told me it was $150. I was not stunned and considered it. Then, another man who I assume is the maker came up and said, “I’ll make you a deal!” I said sure. He said, “$150!” I said this young man just offered it to me for the same price, thanks, put the knife down, and walked away. If he said $130 or $140 I probably would have bought it. Ahhh, live and learn as salesmen.
So, I went to the second tent. The man running the tent had left to run an errand, but his son, who I would say is about 14 years old, was manning the tent. The young kid stood up from his seat, put out his hand and introduced himself – I was rather pleased and surprised. Then, he asked me what I was looking for, and he promptly started pointing out knives which were really a good fit. I was entertained, so I let him go further. He watched my facial expressions at just looking them or picking them up with my bear claws. He would quickly move on just on this alone. Then he presented the Holy Grail. I was looking at a knife which was almost identical to the one at the other tent. He explained the blade was from an old saw mill blade which is very good steel. The blade was acid washed for the look that he thought was pretty cool – I agreed! He told me about the G10 Camo handle and to feel between the handle, blade and handle – There was NO distinguishing edges where one ended and the other began. The knife also had a full tang – I love this for strength. The grind from one side to the other, the blade stop, and the spine grind was dang near CNC perfect - Huge compliment! The sheath was really nice and fit the knife perfectly. But, the biggest feature was the thumb rise grooves on top of the spine! I was SOLD! Now, the pricing – I turned the tag and saw I think $80. I was very pleased with the price, but you have to remember this is from a saw blade and not forged. However, it was acid washed, perfect blade design, and the glorious thumb rise grooves. I didn’t hesitate and I plunked down the asking price – No need to haggle on something I think is a good price for what was presented. It wasn’t until my wife was examining the knife in the car, and she was playing with the sheath. My wife is a huge CRAFT person, and she thought the leatherwork and the rivets were incredible.
The more I played with it at home and put it on my belt. The sheath is really incredible!
I did get a professional business card, and the info is below:
Caney Creek Knifeworks
Or visit his Facebook page @
Finally, I have had further discussion with Robert Rawls. He is a bonafide second generation knife maker. His father who taught him how to make the knives and the sheaths has been doing this for 30 years. It’s awesome to see someone carrying on a skill like this. Well, Robert has three (3) knives I will be buying one-by-one in the future. He tried to do a super bundle deal, but this was not low-covert enough for me and keeping it off the wife’s Radar (if you get my drift)! I don’t mind paying for quality items.
I love his logo! A solid design concept as the Arkansas Woodworking logo I made.