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As much as we enjoy brand-new high-tech gear, there's always a time and place for the classics. Handling vintage weaponry from bygone days reminds us of the hand-made quality and craftsmanship that still existed in the days long before CNC mills and laser cutters. When a tool is made by hand, it's built to last.
We mention this because we recently received an email from Rustick Knives, letting us know about a one-of-a-kind new project they've taken on. Jack Stottlemire has produced a blade he's calling the Conflict Forge Bowie knife, and every inch of it is imbued with history. In fact, Jack's apprentice Mike Baldwin tells us that “every piece has seen war”. Amazingly, the Conflict Forge knife is literally built from wartime artifacts.
First, the triple-layered San Mai blade was forge-welded from traditional 1095 steel, a nickel ribbon, and a GAU-19 .50-cal Gatling gun barrel. Jack writes, “Think of San Mai as a baloney sandwich on it's side. Baloney (1095 steel) in the middle, nickel ribbon (mayonnaise), and gun barrel being the two slices of bread on the outside. If you look at the spine from the top, you can see all of the alloys stacked together.”
The brass guard and pommel were then formed from a single 105mm brass shell casing. Mike tells us this very casing was recovered from onboard an AC-130U that fired against ISIS forces in Iraq last year. Finally, the knife's handle was carved from teak wood, which came from the deck of the WWII battleship USS North Carolina BB-55.
Unfortunately, this unique knife is not for sale—but there is some good news. The Conflict Forge will be auctioned through Uber Group at the Blade Show in Atlanta this June, and 100% of the auction's proceeds will go to the Special Operations Care Fund (SOC-F) charity.
Also, if you want one of these blades as much as we do, there's still hope. According to a post on the Rustick Knives Facebook page, Jack plans to make more Conflict Forge Bowie knives. He writes, “Look for more of these in different calibers. I just got a 20mm Vulcan barrel and may be getting a GAU-8 30mm from an A-10. A portion of each sale of one of these knives will always go to a Veteran charity.”
Handmade knives, built from historic materials, and used to help veterans—that's a pretty badass trifecta. We can't wait to check these out in person at Blade Show this year.
For some bonus content, see below another Conflict Forge blade Jack just finished. It's a dagger, constructed of M134D Minigun barrels from Bco 1st BN 160th SOAR. These barrels were used in Afghanistan in an AH-6 Littlebird helicopter. Jack writes, “It too is a San Mai composition, but instead of a solid gun barrel cladding, the outer cladding is a 138-layer Damascus pattern made out of the gun barrel and 15N20, which is a carbon steel with nickel in it. This knife will be auctioned off to benefit the “Night Stalker Association”.”