A master smith knifemaker for 30 years and a revered instructor of the craft, local knifemaker Jim Crowell received a special honor recently when he was inducted into the American Bladesmith Society Hall of Fame.
Always a craftsman of one kind of another, Crowell said he enjoys making things and was drawn to knifemaking after moving to Stone County during the late 1970s.
“I have always liked working with my hands. I like the outdoors. I guess like a lot of guys, I like guns and knives,” he said.
The induction took place during a ceremony Aug. 6 at the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock.
Crowell was one of six new Hall of Fame inductees, a group that also included the late Rezin P. Bowie. Rezin was the brother of James Bowie and claimed himself to have been the inventor of the famous “Bowie knife.”
Bowie knives are one of Crowell’s most popular styles, but he makes a variety of collectible-quality knives and even the occasional sword.
His workshop, located at his home near Timbo, includes tools such as a hydraulic press, air hammer, and gas powered forge, along with several machines for grinding and buffing, as well as hand tools for the finish work that Crowell said takes most of his time.
He uses various woods, ivory, pearl, stag horn, and synthetics for handles, as well as some more unusual materials such as mastodon tusk.
He typically makes one piece at a time, although he might have several knives at different stages of completion.
“I hardly ever do production work. Generally speaking, it’s a one at a time deal,” he said.
See the full story in the Sept. 7, 2016 issue.