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Who Is Bob Loveless?

Bob Loveless VisionaryBob Loveless was a visionary in the sporting cutlery industry by refining knife making into a creative masterpiece.

 

R.W Loveless was a seaman on furlough in the early 1950’s when he tried to purchase a blade at the now iconic sporting outfitter, Abercrombie & Fitch. Abercrombie’s master knife maker at the time was Bo Randall who told Bob that there would be a nine-month waiting list for his order. Loveless decided that it can’t be difficult to make your own knife and decided to make his own by creating his first knife from a steel spring of a 1930s Packard automobile and forging the blade on a galley stove.

One year later, Bob Loveless went back to Abercrobie & Fitch, this time as a supplier, and sold his first knives for $14. When Loveless passed away in September of 2010, he was selling his knives upwards to $20,000.

Bob Loveless knives are so coveted today that some are valued at $150,000 and above.

Once Abercrombie & Fitch started buying his tools, Loveless briefly lived in Delaware before moving to Modesto, California in 1959 followed by Lawndale in 1960 and worked in machine shops while making knives on the side in his garage until he owned enough machinery to craft knives full time.

Bob Loveless ShopBob Loveless knifepic_Bob_Loveless_Holster

 

Often outfitted in the shirt and hat of a train engineer, Loveless was a big man with a big personality, a colorful character who wouldn’t sell a fighting knife unless the buyer could prove he was in a hazardous profession. Loveless would often say that his knives were aimed at “the working man,”


“A knife is a tool, and I make ’em to be used,” Loveless said. “It burns me up that most of them wind up in velvet boxes and display cases, priced so high your average deer hunter or cowboy can’t afford ’em.”


Early Life

Robert Waldorf “Bob” Loveless was born Jan. 2, 1929, in Warren, Ohio, and grew up on his grandparents’ Ohio farm.

At 15, he doctored his birth certificate and joined the merchant marine during World War II. After the war, he joined the Army Air Forces, serving as a control-tower operator on Guam and Iwo Jima. According to Sports Illustrated, The knife fights he witnessed in foreign ports intensified his interest in the weapon. In Japan, which Loveless often visited with his Japanese American second wife, he was regarded as a spiritual master of blade craft and is as highly-revered as he is in the United States.

This is the soldering iron that belonged to Bob. He used this to solder the guard to the tang. He modified the tips so they could hold the knife just right. What a brilliant idea. He had one tip for hunters and other smaller knives, and another for the larger fighting knives. If you watch the movie Bob made, How To Make Knives, you can see how Bob used this tool. It is also featured in a picture on page 159 of his famous book How To Make Knives.

Bob loveless Soldering Iron

 

When Bob stopped using solder (approx. 1992) he gave this tool to his good friend Dan Dennehy, who was also a knife maker. I recently bought this from Dan’s son. What a great piece of Loveless history. If you own an older Loveless knife, chances are this soldiering iron was used on it. I put a semi skinner next to it to show how massive and heavy duty this iron is. You can also see the larger tip below the iron.

 

 


RW Catalog 1972This Loveless Knives catalog from 1972 is a classic and definitely worth a look. Check out all the information in this catalog which gives a snapshot into the mind of R.W. Loveless.  Bob discusses Blade Shapes, Handle Shapes, Handle Materials and more. The catalog also includes a Pricing list of his and Henry Franks knives as  of June 1st 1972.

Download Catalog

 


 

RW Loveless ZippoThis is a Zippo lighter that was made with the Loveless signature logo on it. I believe it was made in the 80s. Zippo made several different Loveless lighters with different logos. They are a neat part of the Loveless history. Don’t know of any other makers who had a Zippo made after them. They are very hard to find but they do pop up once in a while.

Loveless Knife Collectors