Ross Cutlery, George Rock, Rakai Ackley discussed on The Knife Junkie Podcast
When you and I spoke on the phone a couple of weeks back I told you that my first PROTEC- was the Rakai the the less George Rock I I was a huge fan and am a huge fan of that of his designed, but kind of knew it was always sort of out of reach, and then you made this beautiful automatic, and and had the the reputation for making high fidelity and collaboration knives, and just incredible out the side, so I got it and I love it so. So thank you for making something that I loved and bring it into reach and creating a whole new genre of knife that I love Oh. You're very welcome, yeah, the less George designs, he's been a good friend and a great collaboration partner, and the same sort of thing I really love his designs, and he's such a neat guy We're really proud to work with him. And he came out with the SBA are recently which is a kind of a smaller version of that same knife and and is Sp.. Short bladed Rakai Ackley and what a hit that will guy has been It's such a nice size. It's small, but it's still stout like the list George designs tend to be and so it's like the best little big knife we ever. And you make a lot of little big knives and I think that might be a result of of being in California, but we'll get to that in a second I wanna I wanNA find out about how pro-tech came to being I. I understand from an interview. I saw you grew up in a knife shop. Is that right? And how did this corrected this evolve? Yes Oh, my dad and my uncle owned a retail. Store Ross cutlery right in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. And when my dad was getting out of the service during Vietnam Union, brother were looking for a business that they could work together and the met this Guy Mr Ross. who had a sharpening service at? They didn't sell anything in the store at the time of sharpening and. They broker this deal to buy the business from him, and over the years grew. It's and grew it, and just built it into one of the biggest and most well-stocked cut restores anywhere in the US, and I grew up in there. You know I grew up at you. As soon as I was tall enough to reach the counter, I was selling knives down at the store and I remember vividly being they're making little price tags and working with my dad, and there was just it was. It was really great. You know kind of unusual and conversation. People talk about what their dad did for a living and I was always the only one whose dad ran a knife shot. For sure the luckiest one in the class never sure so what were the kind of knives? You were selling back then in in that store so a little bit of everything, my Dad's store, my Dad Mongols. Store had kind of focused on almost utilitarian stuff. They do a Lotta service work so butchers. Hair size people that use knives. It tools every day. That needs service for them. They would come in their for sharpening. Even, real specialty items like straight razors and things and. The service is real heavy for the retail store. And they had all manner of knives in there a little bit of everything. My Dad loved inventory. You know kind of an old school approach to it. You know like you can't sell it if you don't have it. My Dad would say and so boy. Did they have it down to the store he had. A number of Collections of things in the front window that were bolted on display, only not for sale, and there was one area there. That was all automatic knives vintage American vintage Italian. You that kind of stuff and I guess growing up being told over and over again that I couldn't touch him I couldn't have them and whatever it's like the circle of life, and so all these years later you know. Know Ross Cutlery. Even though it's changed hands now my cousin it. They're a customer of ours and they by the pro tech knives and sell them at Ross Cutlery, so it's the circle of life for sure on that took so did your father and uncle make knives or have an inkling to go that route, not at all the bought and sold and serviced. You know countless knives over the. When my dad was still alive with the ran the store together, I wanNA save fifty two years something like that incredible longevity and. Moved several times every time into a bigger location so nominal success you know for a retail store at, but never any knife making to speak of but heavy on the service side lots I've sold no no knife making so you know the sort of level of enthusiasm and the knife world these days you helped build that enthusiasm through your protect brand, but was it like. Like that back in the day where people were, what was your dad knife nut was your was your uncle like always getting the new thing and loving, or was it a different sort of attitude than no, they were, and and actually you know like my. My Dad was involved in a number of things with different cutlery companies over the years helping them expand their brands especially boker. And he always loved the product beyond that it was his work he had a genuine enthusiasm for the knives and the new stuff that was coming in and. You definitely. Beyond, just buying and selling stuff you know. He was ahead of his time kind of a nice nut for sure. So you grow up working in the store Ross Cutlery and I I'm presuming that you kind of grew up there as you said and went into your teen years. There so. How did it happen that you I mean? How did it happen that you started making them yourself? I I. After College I ended up. As a teacher for a short time, I, actually taught middle school, sixth, seventh and eighth grade for a few years, and while I was teaching are starting to buy my first house and get. My life started and I was worked at the time living in Colorado and the teacher pay was not so hot, and so on the weekends I started doing knife shows I started doing gun shows. Knife shows buying selling brands. I was familiar with you. Know from my Dad's store, so bench made saw, Cold Steel Spider Co, you name it and pretty quickly that evolved into also some customize and I really enjoy buying and selling those and getting to know the makers and. I had a pretty good side business going and eventually that kind of took over, and so this is like you mid-nineties, and the thing that I always sell out of the first partly because I enjoyed them so much, it's easy to sell what you like and I loved the automatic knives, and so at the time like in the mid nineties. There just weren't that many. That bench made had a few great models. The white wolves knives some stuff from the Valetyn. Family like there was a few things out there, but there wasn't much, and I realized how much I like them and other Nice. Nuts like me like them, and so that's kind of when it got the idea that maybe I should try to make my own I think in the in the mid nineties. That's kind of when I When I got my first large folding cold steel, and I started to become aware of some of the brands I couldn't afford it at the time to me. That's when the real a robust builds started happening in a real eye towards tactical tactical knives started happening, so I think the idea of taking the idea of a an. An automatic knife, but building it to be battle-ready quote, unquote is a great idea. I grew up a you know in the eighties I. I got a bunch of switchblades and out the front automatics from Europe that were you know tourist pieces and fun to play with, but obviously we're not good knives, and so to take the fascination, or the you know that the the fascination of having an automatic knife, but actually making it a working tool, great and with.