The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Saturday Night Blade Porn: the steel artistry of Charles Marlowe

 

I first heard of Marlowe Knives a decade ago through a custom knife purveyor named Duane Weikum of EDC Knives. The knife in question was a custom tactical folder with polished bolsters and the fit and finish was top notch. About a year later I met Charles Marlowe under less than glorious circumstances.

It was in the Pit at the Waverly Hotel during the Annual Blade Show in Atlanta, Georgia. Being a student of Filipino Martial Arts, yours truly began a twirling and flipping demo with a custom balisong. As the demo progressed, onlookers began handing over various knives. One of them had a titanium handle with a Kris blade. I remember that knife well; the handle so superbly polished that it slid right out of my hands and landed on the marble floor of the pit.

005 (2)

Clankety-clank!

Marlowe rushed over, grabbed the knife and took it away to examine it.

Luckily, there was no damage besides a bruised ego and the end of the FMA exhibition for the night!

Quality is the most important thing to Charles. It starts with the best in materials: synthetics for the handle materials are typically linen Micarta or Carbon Fiber. He will work in stag or other natural materials but finds them not as durable when put through hard use.

5.26.09 012

Liners, bolsters and clips are titanium.

5.26.09 007

When making a folding knife, he finds the lock to be the most critical component. “What is the point of making a folder if the lock does not function properly?”

013_zps0guub9aj

“My lock work is expensive, the testing of the locks is abusive, if there is going to be a problem, I want it in the shop, not in the field. If it doesn’t pass testing, it doesn’t leave the shop. “

011

Charles does not stop there. The details are important for the rest of the knife and he puts the time in getting each and every part just right.

5.26.09 001

 

Charles explains,

“For me, a knife isn’t done until it’s done. I will never knowingly send out something I know isn’t right. If it’s not right, I will spend the time it takes to make it right. I want people to pee their pants and giggle in excitement when they get one of my knives. That is the level of enjoyment that a custom knife should bring.”

MarloweScimitarBamboo

“Let’s face it $700-$1000 is a lot of money for a knife. I work hard for each dollar that I make, and I want the customer to be totally content with sending me the money that they worked hard for. “

Charles developed an interest in knives early on and was fascinated by two knives that his father owned: a 13-inch stiletto and a little switchblade, both of unusually high quality.

photoscapetest52715

He was that kid who took all his toys apart to see how they worked and translated that over to his love for knives. He started making knives in a basement wood shop that had a grinder, and a random piece of steel.

orig15

“That first knife barely qualified to be called a knife, but it was a start. I kept grinding on a 6” Craftsmen bench grinder through high school, convincing dad to let me buy an 8” bench grinder my senior year. In my sophomore year in college, my Dad loaned me the money for the Wilton that I still use, even though not much original is on it but the frame. “

010-1

Upon graduating college, he became a full time knife maker.

f9f3f45e-aa85-4631-9b69-80bfb29d9535_zpse1vivrzp

“I was primarily self-taught. I learned the ‘right’ way of doing things, by doing them the wrong way. It may have taken me longer than if I had learned from someone else, but I think it was of great benefit as it helped with problem solving and troubleshooting. Most things we do, there are more than one way to do it. Knowing different ways and using what’s best for each individual. Whenever I teach someone how to make knives, I try to pass that idea along, and show them several ways of doing something. What works best for me, may not work best for someone else. A good knife maker never stops learning, and can learn from anybody.”

MarloweA4CarbonFiberww

As fine and polished as his knives look, they are tactical at heart and Charles has sent a lot of them to troops overseas.

401547_10151248505795447_462803560446_22860650_56739177_n

“Whenever I could do it, I would donate knives to troops in the sandbox. The knives were 99% fixed blades, either ones that weren’t cosmetically right, or ones made specifically for field use. None of these knives were showstoppers, but they were solid and sharp. I’d send a handful to someone I knew overseas, told them to grab one for themselves, then distribute the rest to guys that may have been having a hard time over there. The knife was a useful tool for them of course, but I thought that knowing people cared about them back home would help get them back in one piece.”

MarloweBaliWeehawkBlue

“One of my friends became a tank mechanic, and was being deployed. He called me up and said, ‘Charles, I’m being sent to Afghanistan, as infantry because they don’t need tank mechanics there…..I need a big ass knife in two weeks.’ Luckily I had a couple of large, heat treated, combat knife blanks hanging on the wall. I sent one off and he did his tour with it on his chest rig.”

006

Marlowe’s knives are in such demand that he does not take orders and sells via lottery drawing at custom knife shows.

orig6

His next show is at the Usual Suspect Gathering in Las Vegas, Nevada: http://usngathering.com/.

12209 013


NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Issue of RECOIL CONCEALMENT Magazine

Enter your e-mail to get this FREE issue of RECOIL CONCEALMENT magazine!Personal protection is a fundamental human right. RECOIL CONCEALMENT magazine not only recognizes this right, but celebrates it — empowering you with the latest tactics and gear for self-defense. From concealed carry handguns and holsters, to knives and all things EDC, you'll find it in each issue of CONCEALMENT. In fact, these things are so important, we're giving away a free digital PDF issue of CONCEALMENT magazine ... to help you be better prepared. Click Here to Get Your Free Issue



Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter