Status of John W. Smith knives?

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Apr 5, 2003
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Does anyone know the status of John W. Smith knives?

I saw a great piece at NYCKS '16 and the dealer told me John had been in poor health, and was no longer making knives. But I've seen some on the market lately that appear to be recent work. Meanwhile his website seems to be a relic, and the show schedule hasn't been updated in almost a decade.

Anyone know? John remains one of my all time favorite makers. Thanks.
 

Don Hanson III

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As far as I know John is no longer making knives. But he was one of the most prolific makers, so there are a bunch of his knives out there.
 

jdm61

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How many John Smith's are there out there making knives? :D I know of John W. Smith the folder guy you are speaking of and John M. Smith, the guy who made those cool "inner city bowie' fighters back in the day.
 

Lorien

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I hope I'm not botching the facts here, but I think his son in law, Aaron Frederick, has been helping John out quite a lot. I had a project in the works with John a little over a year ago, which he had spent a fair amount of time on, that he had to bail from due to his health.

John is a good man and one of the most capable knife makers on this planet, (maybe others, who knows?). I wish all the best to him and his, he's really contributed a lot to custom knives, and for me personally is an unintentional mentor of sorts.

Cheers John!
 

SharpByCoop

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This is disappointing to hear. I didn't realize it.

J.D. Smith, MS is another John Smith, FYI. :)
 

Lhpanther

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John and I emailed back and fourth a few times earlier this past year. He told me he was in poor health and didn’t know when he’d feel up to making knives. He did take the time to do a spa treatment on one of the knives that I own if his. Hate to hear he hasn’t returned to good health.
 
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My understanding is he had started to resume making some Knives last year but has now stopped. You can see that some of the knives are fairly recent due to the fancier pivot screws he had started to use. Those were a fairly recent change. Maybe a year or 2 back at most. See pic.

PS, one of my favorite makers. And until recently his knives were incredibly cheap for the quality. Not so much anymore.

Just picked this one up. Typical JWS perfection. Notice the pivot screws.


EF34B554-D0A9-4B64-91C8-A8226261C46B.jpeg 29346785-AFD5-4250-B05E-5788EED60FF9.jpeg 67198A9B-20A7-4CFD-BF4F-20F09C11E4D9.jpeg 7775AB38-C3B3-4474-9655-D5B40902DDDC.jpeg 937BF464-91E1-4D8E-91E4-6822CDEF6016.jpeg
 

The Amazing Virginian

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This is very sad to hear.

It seems to me that he occupies a unique place among knifemakers in that he has excelled at reasonably affordable users AND beautiful, expensive, "art knives." How many AKI members made knives in recent years which one could purchase for a few hundred dollars? Like this one which I purchased a few years ago and still own:

2eqgenq.jpg


28uqtj9.jpg


Although I have seen this same model being offered now in the secondary market for nearly two grand, so as Megalobyte indicated prices have escalated.
 
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Lorien

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This is very sad to hear.

It seems to me that he occupies a unique place among knifemakers in that he has excelled at reasonably affordable users AND beautiful, expensive, "art knives." How many AKI members made knives in recent years which one could purchase for a few hundred dollars? Like this one which I purchased a few years ago and still own:

2eqgenq.jpg


28uqtj9.jpg


Although I have seen this same model being offered now in the secondary market for nearly two grand, so as Megalobyte indicated prices have escalated.

one of these just went for $450 I think on the exchange last week. I woulda made that work if I got to it on time
 

rickpropas

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Jul 29, 2014
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Any updates on Smith's status? I was dismayed earlier in the week when I went to his site and found that it had vanished. No error messages, just an unable to connect to server.

I am a great fan of his work and probably have more of his work than of anyone else.
 

BladeScout

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One of the finest makers

View attachment 849485
Ive remarked upon this knife before - its staggeringly beautiful.

Any chance of some more pics of it open/closed.

What fine lines - elegantly curved blade.

Im sure its not (and thats no problem - especially as it seems there sadly wont be no more) but that would make for one heck of a user.
 
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Any updates on Smith's status?

The person to ask is probably his son-in-law, the knifemaker Aaron Fredrick. They did fairly recent collaborations together. I've been meaning to contact Aaron and ask. Let me know if you do.

I had a project in the works with John back in 2008, but he fell ill while we were planning, and then my finances got in the way. He was going to build me a "maker's choice" RG-1 with scales of his favorite material (at the time) of snakewood. I'll probably never stop dreaming about that knife even if it never comes to be. Gotta find me another JWS to buy...
 

rickpropas

Gold Member
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Good thought. I have just sent a short e-mail to Aaron.

In the meantime, as a fan I should post a few of my Smiths. I'll start with the most recent, an F5 with a recurve blade, zirconium bolsters and carbon fiber shred scales. It's a big knife but as always with John's stuff, everything works in harmony.

The person to ask is probably his son-in-law, the knifemaker Aaron Fredrick. They did fairly recent collaborations together. I've been meaning to contact Aaron and ask. Let me know if you do.
F5.1.jpg F5.3.jpg
 

rickpropas

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I just now got this from Aaron Frederick, John's son-in-law.

I wrote:

Aaron,

There are a few of us on bladeforums who are wondering how John is
doing. Is there anything you and the family care to share with those of
us who treasure his work and wonder about his welfare?

Regards,
Rick


Aaron replied:

He is doing really well. He still has some health issues he has to deal
with but as a whole he is very solid. He wares down faster than he use to
and his hearing got very much worse because of the strokes so he can't
really talk on the phone anymore. He is working some mostly only in the
mornings and only for a couple of hours at a time. I bring a knife or two
to shows when i come and he has been working on some projects with me that
we will have at the blade show.
If you would like to check on him email me any time or he does answer his
emails but he is very slow about it. He never could type so its funny to
watch.
thanks for checking on him
Aaron

And I'll post this, a small JWS Art Knife: JWS.1.jpg JWS.2.jpg JWS.3.jpg
 
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