Freedom’s Steel™ III – Shall Not Be Infringed – 2014

Freedom’s Steel III – Shall Not Be Infringed
Knife Rights’ Extraordinary Custom Collaboration Knife
Supporting NRA-ILA and the Second Amendment!


SOLD for $33,000!

A One-of-a-Kind Custom Knife
Crafted by Acclaimed Artisans
Incorporating Historically Significant Materials
(Click images and links for higher resolution photographs.)

Knife Rights has donated Freedom’s Steel III – Shall Not Be Infringed, an extraordinary custom knife collaboration,to the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) in appreciation for their support of Knife Rights’ legislative efforts in fighting the Second Front in Defense of the Second Amendment. Freedom’s Steel III was conceived of, and sponsored by, Knife Rights expressly to benefit NRA-ILA. This is the third year in a row that Knife Rights has donated a Freedom’s Steel knife, raising $33,500 the first two years.

Freedom’s Steel III – Shall Not Be Infringed will be a featured auction item at the NRA-ILA Dinner and Auction to be held at the NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, the evening of April 25, 2014. Proceeds from the sale of Freedom’s Steel III will support NRA-ILA efforts to defend the Second Amendment.Click here for information on the NRA-ILA Dinner and Auction

“Knife Rights and the NRA have a common interest in protecting our civil rights and specifically the right to own and use tools appropriate for self-defense. At a time when our Second Amendments rights are under unprecedented assault, we are proud to assist NRA in protecting these rights.” said Knife Rights Chairman and Founder Doug Ritter. “We are sincerely grateful for the support provided to us by NRA-ILA as we fight the Second Front in Defense of the Second Amendment.”

“Since 1871, the NRA has fought to defend the rights of law-abiding Americans. We are truly grateful for the support of our friends at Knife Rights and their continued contributions to our ongoing efforts to preserve our freedom,” said Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.”

Ritter noted, “we are indebted to these incredibly talented artisans and companies who contribute their valuable time, talents and materials to support Knife Rights by creating this extraordinary knife.” Each craftsman’s efforts and every component of Freedom’s Steel™ III was donated to Knife Rights to support its efforts to defend and enhance our right to own and carry knives as tools used daily by millions of Americans and at times wielded as an “arm” in self-defense.

This one-of-a-kind 16-inch 416-layer Damascus American Bowie was forged by National Living Treasure and American Bladesmith Society Master Bladesmith Jerry Fisk. Fisk forged the Damascus pattern to show the sun’s rays radiating out to the blade’s cutting edge, representing his prayer that with Knife Rights’ and the NRA’s help, “may the sun always rise over a free America.”

The engraved guard and pommel, as well as the spacer, were forged from the barrel of a Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle used in Iraq and donated by Barrett Firearms. ABS Master Bladesmith and master engraver, Shane Taylor, accurately copied and gold inlaid the handwritten original script from the Second Amendment of the Constitution: “shall not be infringed.” The embellishment engraving was inspired by Paul Revere’s engraving from the time of the Revolution. Almost two feet of 24K gold wire was used in the gold inlay.

The historic wood handle was hand carved by Fisk. The wood was salvaged from the last of 13 horse chestnut trees planted by George Washington in 1788 to memorialize the 13 colonies and shade the walk between his mother’s cottage and Kenmore, his sister’s home in Fredericksburg, Virginia. This historic tree was felled and salvaged by Historical Woods of America in 2005. The beautiful grain of the horse chestnut wood is stabilized to last for generations.

Fisk explains that he chose to make this knife a Bowie because “the Bowie is recognized world-wide as the quintessential American knife, a recognized symbol of America. This is an early American style of Bowie which represents the fundamental American characteristics of lean strength and resilience, the basics we should get back to in running our great country.”

Custom Leather Maker Kenny Rowe hand-crafted the tooled leather sheath. The sheath is one of his High Ride Crossdraws with Rowe’s Pin Loc retention device. It is constructed of Herman Oak vegetable tanned leather. The hand tooled floral design matches the gold inlay in the knife. This pattern is filigreed over American alligator. The outline of the sheath and the welt are custom fit and contoured to fit this exact knife for a good snug fit.

Freedom’s Steel IIIis presented in a custom-built black walnut display case by Brookfield Case. It features glass on four sides and the top and a document storage drawer. Etched into the glass front is a reproduction of the original script from the ratified Bill of Rights (as also used on the pommel):

…the right of the People to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.
Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified December 15, 1791

The Historic George Washington Wood Handle

On April 2, 1788, as recorded by George Washington in his handwritten diary, while visiting his mother and sister he “transplanted from a box in the garden, thirteen plants of horse chestnut into the shrubberies by the garden walls” to shade the walk between his mother’s cottage and Kenmore, his sister’s home in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The thirteen trees memorialized the original thirteen colonies.

By the early 1900s, only five trees survived. Two were blown over in a storm and two died, so that by 1926 only one remained. This last historic tree had been lovingly tended for by the then-current property owner Mrs. John F. Scott, but by then it was clear that if drastic action were not taken, it too would succumb. An appeal was made to Ohio Congressman Martin Davey, President of Davey Tree Expert Service, who responded by sending his experts to examine and treat the historic tree. Over the course of three weeks, they carefully cut out the decayed wood of the tree’s trunk, leaving a cavity large enough for a man to stand in, and Davey was photographed doing just that, inspecting the work of his tree experts. The experts also tended to the tree’s limbs. Then, nearly two tons of concrete was used to seal the cavity and protect the tree.

That served to help prolong the historic horse chestnut’s life for another 83 years until 2005. Battered by disease and storms, at the age of approximately 219 years (according to documented tree ring evidence) the tree had become a safety hazard. Bill Jewell of Historical Woods of America, Inc., was there to supervise the felling and salvage of the historic tree. Over the years the wood from this unique historic George Washington tree has been used for a variety of purposes, including creating fine writing instruments, one-of-a-kind objects and museum quality artwork used for exhibitions, presentations, fundraising and the like, including the 2012 Freedom’s Steel.

Photography of Freedom’s Steel III – Shall Not Be Infringed courtesy of Terrill Hofmann.

Freedom’s Steel III – Shall Not Be Infringed will be a featured auction item at the NRA-ILA Dinner and Auction to be held at the NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, the evening of April 25, 2014. Proceeds from the sale of Freedom’s Steel III will support NRA-ILA efforts to defend the Second Amendment.Click here for information on the NRA-ILA Dinner and Auction



About The Collaborators
Knifemaker: Jerry Fisk
Engraving: Shane Taylor
Guard and Pommel Steel: Barrett Firearms
Handle: Historical Woods of America
Sheath: Kenny Rowe
Display Case: Brookfield Case
Photography: Terrill Hoffman
Sponsor: Knife Rights
Recipient: NRA Institute for Legislative Action
(See details of each collaborator below)



Jerry FiskKnifemaker: Jerry Fisk
Nashville, Arkansas

Jerry Fisk has been working full-time as a Master Bladesmith since 1989. In 1999 Fisk was named a National Living Treasure by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s Museum of World Cultures.

The list of awards Fisk has won both in the U.S and abroad is long and varied. He is the only double winner of the William F. Moran Knife of the Year Award. Fisk serves as Field Editor of BLADE magazine and has authored a book on Damascus steel that is used as a textbook at the acclaimed Moran School of Bladesmithing.

Fisk explains his approach to knifemaking and what drives him:

“I make knives and edged tools because of a life-long interest and desire. The only limits to this field are those I put on myself. Lots of times I blend centuries-old techniques with modern methods. I prefer designs drawn from something that simulates nature and prefer to work in natural materials.

All of my blades from field grade to ornate pieces are tested to insure they perform in the manner for which they are designed for and made as strong as the design allows.

Because of the way that I was raised, a knife to me is first a tool, and second it is pretty to look at, if done right. This is just the way I was raised. Work hard and use a good tool.

In these modern times you have to search for something that a craftsman/artist makes one-at-a-time. The days of one person working in their shop to create functional works of art are fast going, as it seems we live in a disposable world. This is your time to own something for you and your family that can be passed down. Each generation will have its own stories of the piece and the memories it holds for them. That is something to treasure for the ages.

When I was asked once, why I make knives, I said, ‘…to show that I lived.’ My work will last hundreds of years longer than I will. But now they will know I was here.”



Engraver: Shane Taylor
Miles City, Montana

Shane Taylor began making knives at age twelve in order to have a quality working knife for use on the family ranch. He started out using a coal forge, a hammer, and an anvil. At age 23 he started experimenting with making his own forged Damascus, and has been hooked ever since.

Experimenting with several different steel combinations, Taylor has created a variety of knives from bowies to miniatures. While working to master the basic Damascus patterns, he was introduced to the challenges of mosaic Damascus. He began making mosaic Damascus in 1995.

Taylor started engraving in 1999. Knifemaker Rick Eaton has just moved to Montana and Taylor taught him to make mosaic Damascus and he taught Taylor how to engrave. In the early 2000’s Taylor taught at a seminar in California for the ABS where knifemaker John Barclaugh was also an instructor. For two years at the event, he received instruction from Barclaugh. Taylor has developed his own engraving style, in part because he engraves only knives and not guns. He feels that engraving knives should be completely different from engraving guns.

In 2000, Taylor received his Mastersmith rating with the American Bladesmith Society. The following year he was the first recipient of the Jim Schmidt Award at the East Coast Custom Knife Show in New York City. Since then he has neen awarded Best Damascus Knife at the International BLADE Show & Cutlery Fair twice, and won three BLADE Show Handmade Awards.

Examples of his work have been featured in Blade, Knives Illustrated, Tactical Knives and Knife World magazines, Blade’s Knives Annual, as well as many European and Japanese knife magazines



Guard and Pommel Steel: Barrett Firearms
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

A never-ending mission. More than thirty years ago, Ronnie Barrett built something no one thought possible – a shoulder-fired .50 caliber rifle so innovative, the Army itself would sing its praises. From sketching his designs at the dining room table to working with a local tool and die maker to create parts that didn’t yet exist, every millimeter of the Model 82 was a direct result of Ronnie’s passion for the ultimate firearm. That obsession still fuels our company today.

Headquartered in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Barrett is the world leader in large-caliber rifle design and manufacturing. Our products are used by civilian sport shooters, law enforcement agencies, the United States military and more than 73 State Department approved countries across the world.

And we continue to grow. In fact, we recently moved into a new state-of-the-art corporate headquarters, allowing us to expand our research and development, manufacturing, quality control and shipping capabilities.

No matter how successful we become, however, our story keeps evolving. Because, at Barrett, we don’t believe in resting on our laurels. In fact, we take great pride in thinking outside the box and exploring ways to continue to improve. After all, if there’s one thing our success has taught us, it’s this: You’re only as good as your last accomplishment.

It’s one thing to manufacture guns, and another to live and breathe them. Whether we’re carefully assembling our latest rifle, engineering scope rings that are stronger than ever or increasing the velocity and precision of the ammunition itself – we’re always working with one goal in mind: absolute perfection.



Sheath: Kenny Rowe
Rowe’s Leather
Hope, Arkansas

Rowe’s Leather was started in 1955 by James “Doc” Rowe, a Hope, Arkansas police officer, in a small storage shop behind his house with the original intention of building saddles as a hobby, but he quickly saw the benefit of his ability to also build his own police gear and it didn’t take long for the area folks to notice the quality leather goods he was putting out. The business took off and the demand for Doc’s leather goods grew. Before long, he was building saddles and saddle tack, belts, police gear, billfolds, and other odds and ends. After suffering a heart attack and enduring bypass surgery in 1974, Doc’s doctors medically retired him from the police force and also from the leather business. In accordance to doctor’s orders, he sold his sewing machine and burned all of his patterns, rendering it next to impossible to do leather work and lessening the temptation to jeopardize his health by doing so.

In 1977, Doc’s son Kenny Rowe concocted a brilliant plan to get Doc out of the four walls of his house and back to enjoying the hobby he’d had in the early days. Since Doc’s health was good and his passion for leather work was still there, Kenny decided he would re-open the leather shop and have his dad teach him everything he had taught himself about the leather business. They worked side-by-side for almost 6 years, and then one day Doc came in one and told Kenny he wasn’t working anymore. He felt Kenny knew enough about the leather business without him being there. Kenny continued to work alone at the leather shop part-time for the next 11 years. During this time, he established a name for himself as one of the top-notch makers of leather goods in the area and began reaching a group of clientele beyond the borders of Hempstead County, or Arkansas, and even the United States.

When Kenny decided in 1994 to quit his full-time job and make Rowe’s Leather into his sole livelihood, it was a gamble and a heavy consideration, but he had faith that his skills and abilities would carry him through. Shortly after Rowe’s Leather became a full-time operation, Kenny recruited the help of his young son Cody, who began helping in the shop and learning the art of making leather goods. Cody enjoyed working in the shop when he could and worked weekends and after school to help out. Cody worked with Kenny part-time and all through high school and college, and upon graduating from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Cody made the decision to follow his dad’s career path and become a full-time leather craftsman


In 2003 Rowe’s Leather was relocated to newly-built shop which is much larger and in a more prominent location, right on Highway 29, just south of Hope. Today, you can find Kenny and Cody working side-by-side to produce not only leather goods of the best quality, but of superior artistry, you can buy nearly anywhere. You can attribute this to several factors, only using the best leathers and hides tanned in the U.S., the care and consideration that are put into your wants and needs when you place your order, and the fact that only one pair of hands construct your product from start to finish. And it doesn’t hurt that these hands are some of the finest in the business.



Handle Wood: Historical Woods of America, Inc.
Woodford, Virginia

Historical Woods of America’s (HWA’s) goals and services are squarely focused on the reclamation, salvaging and creative repurposing of historical trees and timbers, as well as trees from private, non- historic clients, such as homeowners who have trees to which they have a sentimental connection.

HWA works exclusively with trees or limbs that have fallen in storms, are diseased, unsafe, or are being removed for construction or to maintain the health of the tree — along with timbers removed from historical sites during renovation of existing structures. The wood thus harvested can then be turned into a host of items which have historical connection or sentimental significance.

HWA has preserved the historical legacy of many of America’s “witness trees” that grew at the sites of government, national landmarks and historic colonial mansions. Much of this wood has a presidential connection, such as Washington’s Mount Vernon, Jefferson’s Monticello, Madison’s Montpelier, as well as several Civil War sites in Virginia.



Display Case: Brookfield Case, Inc.
Les Yoder
Coopersville, Michigan

Brookfield Case is this country’s oldest and largest manufacturer of custom presentation cases.  Brookfield Case has built its reputation by serving the collectable firearms and knife industries.  The company is proud to specialize in custom wood cases for commemoratives, special editions and unique, one-of-a-kind items and museum pieces.

Brookfield’s cases are the benchmark of quality for the industry. Each case reflects the skill and pride of its craftsmen.  From the furniture finish of fine hardwood, to the plush velvet interiors, Brookfield cases provide the perfect showcase for any display or presentation. Brookfield provides custom cases as well as limited production and production cases to many major manufactures, distributors, dealers.

Brookfield Case founder Les Yoder has been in the furniture business as a master craftsman for over 40 years. His experience in early English and French reproductions, high-end executive office furniture and fine clock cabinets is seen in every piece that his highly skilled craftsmen build.



Photography: Terrill Hoffman
Terrill Hoffman Photography
Marion, North Carolina

Terrill Hoffman Photography is a privately owned studio dedicated to meeting the photographic needs of the individual knifemakers from around the world. We have been in operation in North Carolina since 1985. While we have elevated our photographic skills over that time, we have done even more. We have learned the desires and problems that face the average knifemaker in building up a business from what most often has started as a hobby. Along with the technical aspects of both businesses, there is also the same problems of advertising and marketing that face the photographer and knifemaker. It is our desire to help by giving knifemakers a photographic record of their knives.



Sponsor: Knife Rights, Inc.
Doug Ritter, Founder and Chairman

Knife Rights is America’s grassroots knife owners organization, aggressively fighting for a Sharper Future for all knife owners. Knife Rights is dedicated to providing knife owners an effective voice to influence public policy. In the past four years, Knife Rights has passed pro-knife legislation in 11 states and prevented anti-knife legislation in four states. Knife Rights is also the lead plaintiff in a federal civil rights lawsuit against New York City and the New York District Attorney over their persecution of knife owners.



Recipient: National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)

The Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the lobbying arm of the NRA. Established in 1975, ILA is committed to preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. While NRA is a single-issue organization, ILA is involved in any issue that directly or indirectly affects firearms ownership and use. ILA is also involved in educating the public about the facts concerning the many facets of firearms ownership in America.

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