Photos of Bob Loveless 


Knife Names and Shapes


Magazine Articles and Misc. Documents


History of Bob Loveless Born:

January 2, 1929, Warren, Ohio


September 2, 2010, Riverside, California

Bob Loveless, also known as R.W. Loveless, Robert Robert Waldorf Loveless, or aka “Big Bad Bob” was and still is the most iconic bladesmith to have walked the earth. Loveless led a fascinating life of adventure beginning with growing up on a farm with his grandparents in Ohio, where he saw his Grandfather’s friend pull out a three-inch jackknife and altogether field dress a deer. Bob said, “That impressed the shit out of me, and my love for knives began at the age of 10.”

At fourteen, he made his first solo airplane flight. He joined the Merchant Marines by lying about his age to get in at 15 instead of 18. Later, Bob Loveless, the man, operated a control tower for the Air Force on the island of Iwo Jima. Loveless was commissioned by a secret agent from the CIA during the Vietnam War to make knives (known as Bob Loveless Chute Knives) for Harry Archer and send the bill to the Pentagon.

Maybe you didn’t know that he was great friends with David Crosby of the rock band Crosby, Stills and Nash and that they would go out on week-long party adventures together? Nobody knew that John Lennon came and spent the day at his shop, and Loveless was neither impressed by his long hair nor his music. (Can you imagine all the people... who would have killed to have spent the day with a Beatle?)

He had a colorful collection of men’s baker boys hats, and sometimes people would bring them to him as gifts.

Many don’t know how ironic it is that he made his living designing and making knives when his mother and stepfather died at the hand of a knife. However, that didn’t stop him from making knives and becoming the legend of the custom knife world that we know Bob Loveless to be today.

Back in 1954, at the tender age of 25, Loveless started his career by making knives with whatever materials he could get his hands on, such as car springs and reinventing the knife world.

Bob attended Chicago’s Institute of Technology school of design after WWII ended, along with his service to the country, where he discovered his love for the Bauhaus movement. The Bauhaus movement was all about joining fine art and functional design, which created practical objects and the soul of artwork.

Those crudely constructed designs would lead him to a foot in the door to Abercrombie & Fitch, which back in the ‘50s was strictly an outdoors and sporting goods store. Bob sold hunters, sub-hilt bowies, and fighters to them at the tender age of 25. Not many knife makers can lay claim to such early success.

Although Loveless had a reputation for being somewhat difficult to deal with at times, he was eager to share his skills and teach knife making to anyone patient enough to listen and learn. That being said, it didn’t mean they would be talented enough to create the same beautiful and well-balanced knives that Bob Loveless did.

Throughout his career, Loveless partnered with a few talented knife makers to help keep up with the high demand for his knives. Loveless had two shop partners; Steve Johnson circa 1971 - 1974 who’s fit and finish is incomparable to anyone, and finally, his longest-lasting partner, Jim Merritt, circa 1982 - 2010, whos partnership ended with Loveless’s death.

No doubt that Bob Loveless had some catchy sayings about his knives and here are some of our favorites:

“They look so good you want to pick them up and feel so good you don’t want to put them down.”

“You will always catch your thumbnail on my knives somewhere. If you want a perfect knife, go buy a factory-made one”.

This one is about the red liner between the handle and the tang: “Because every woman needs a little red lipstick.”

When asked why he invented the sub-hilt: “Because you don’t want to get your knife stuck in someone, you want to be able to pull it out” (referring to Harry Archer CIA Vietnam War)

(We will put more on the site as we think of them.)

When Bob passed away, his cigarette smoke left along with his legacy. When Jim died, the Loveless knives shop was permanently closed and, according to the family wishes, never to be carried on again.


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