Knife Rights Freedom’s Steel II – Never Forget – 2013

Freedom’s Steel™ II – Never Forget
Knife Rights’ Extraordinary Custom Collaboration Knife
Honoring Sacrifices for America’s Freedoms
Supporting NRA-ILA and the Second Amendment!


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

Knife Rights has donated Freedom’s Steel™ II – Never Forget™, 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™ II – Never Forget™ was conceived of, and sponsored by, Knife Rights expressly to benefit NRA-ILA.

Freedom’s Steel™ II – Never Forget™ will be a featured auction item at the NRA-ILA Dinner and Auction to be held at the NRA Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas, the evening of May 3, 2013. Proceeds from the sale of Freedom’s Steel™ II – Never Forget™ 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.”

Each craftsman’s efforts and every component of Freedom’s Steel™ II – Never Forget™ 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 in self-defense.

This one-of-a-kind 18-inch 700-layer Damascus Bowie was forged by National Living Treasure and American Bladesmith Society Master Bladesmith Jerry Fisk from steel salvaged from the Destroyer USS Cole (attacked 8/12/2000) and from 2 World Trade Center (South Tower – attacked 9/11/2001). These historic steels were donated by Fisk and this is the only knife he will ever make in which these two significant steels alone are combined in one blade.

The 700 layers in the Damascus represent the 700 British soldiers that attacked the Minutemen at Lexington and Concord, the first battle for our freedom. Fisk forged the blade into an “Interrupted W” pattern because George “W” Bush was in the White House at the time the terrorists struck in the attack on 9/11, from which a portion of the steel was salvaged. Thus, the layers represent the first armed American resistance and the “Interrupted W” pattern represents the last attack on American home soil.

Jerry Fisk describing the steel used in Freedom’s Steel™ II – Never Forget™: “The large bottom piece is from the World Trade Center South Tower; it still had some of the blast residue on it. The smaller bent piece is from the USS Cole, salvaged by one of the welders that cut out part of the blast section. In addition, there are two pieces of 1084 high carbon steel to give it edge holding and a third piece of steel was salvaged from a small country mill from the early part of the 20th century, which represents the middle class working man, the foundation of America.”

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.”

The two steel handle spacers were forged by Fisk from rebar salvaged from the restoration of the Statue of Liberty (1982-1986) and donated by world-renowned engraver Leonard Francolini of New Mexico.

Francolini’s exquisite engraving of the guard features 24 karat flush gold scrollwork inlaid around the perimeter of the guard. The sides of the guard have steel cut scrollwork with a punch dot background. It is signed “FRANCOLINI” in a recessed, 24 karat gold inlaid rectangle on the bottom of the guard.

Fisk carved the oak handle spacer out of a salvaged branch from the Alamo’s Historic Live Oak, which was also donated by Fisk. The significance of the blade’s length of 12 3/4 inches is also related to the Alamo. The historic siege of the Alamo lasted just short of 13 full days before it finally fell to Mexican General Santa Anna on March 6, 1836.

The handle was carved by Fisk from 10,000-year-old rare ringed fossilized mammoth ivory that was dug up on Saint Lawrence Island, Alaska.

Custom Leather Maker Paul F. Long handcrafted the sheath to compliment the extraordinary knife and, especially, the color of the historical Mammoth Ivory handle. The sheath features top grain vegetable tanned, russet colored American cowhide with a brown lizard chevron overlay. It is fully lined with supple deerskin to protect the blade. Long hand-tooled the geometric embellishments.

Freedom’s Steel™ II – Never Forget™is presented in a custom-built black walnut display case by Brookfield Case. It features glass on four sides and the top and is internally lit with LED lighting. Etched into the glass front is a reproduction of the original script from the ratified Bill of Rights:

…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

Photography of Freedom’s Steel™ II – Never Forget™ courtesy of Buddy Thomason.

Freedom’s Steel™ II – Never Forget™ will be a featured auction item at the NRA-ILA Dinner and Auction to be held at the NRA Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas, the evening of May 3, 2013. Proceeds from the sale of Freedom’s Steel™ II – Never Forget™ 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: Leonard Francolini
Sheath: Paul F. Long
Display Case: Brookfield Case
Photography: Buddy Thomason
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: Leonard Francolini
Leonard Francolini Engraving Corrales, New Mexico

Leonard Francolini has been engraving firearms for 40 years, and loves what he does. He started by engraving high speed rotary dies for Preston Engravers in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. These dies were hand engraved to high tolerances and the challenge was strictly one of function – either it worked or it didn’t. There was no art involved, but he learned a lot about steel and how to cut, move and shape it.

In 1972 Francolini was hired by the Engraving Department at the Colt Factory in Hartford, Connecticut. There he learned the art of firearms engraving and gradually developed his own engraving style. The seven years he spent at the Factory gave him invaluable experience in many of the disciplines required to decorate guns – and it was fun. Francolini was exposed to many guns, engraving styles and engraving projects which broadened his perception of the art.

Since 1979 Francolini has been a Freelance Engraver specializing in revolvers and has created some very elaborately engraved guns. A partial list includes:

  • The “Four Seasons” Tiffany & Co. designed Smith & Wesson Model 29 for the Royal Armories, London, England.
  • Horace Greeley IV’s coffin cased “Vampire Killer” Colt Detective Special featured on the November, 1987 Cover of Guns Magazine. This gun is now on display at the National Firearms Museum.
  • A Tiffany & Co. designed Colt Dragoon that used Frederic Remington and George Catlin paintings depicting old west themes. This gun was a birthday gift to Gene Autry from his wife, and is now on display at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles.
  • “Tombstone” a Colt Single Action Army revolver depicting the Shootout at the OK Corral in sculpted steel around the non-fluted cylinder.
  • “Liberty 100” a Colt Single Action Army revolver embellished with a Statue of Liberty theme and incorporating materials acquired from the Statue. This gun appeared on the July 1986 cover of American Rifleman Magazine.
  • “Cowboys and Indians” a pair of Colt Single Action Army revolvers depicting the parallel, but conflicting lives of two groups of people living when the West was still young.

Francolini’s guns have appeared in numerous publications.

  • American Engravers and American Engravers – The 21 s t Century by Roger Bleile
  • Book of Colt Engraving editions I II and III by R. L. Wilson
  • Steel Canvas by R. L. Wilson
  • The PostWar Colt Single Action Revolver by Don Wilkerson
  • Colt’s SAA Post War Models by George Garton
  • American Rifleman Magazine numerous articles including the cover of the July, 1986 issue.
  • Guns Magazine numerous articles including the cover of the November, 1987 issue.
  • Cowboys and Indians Magazine June, 2009 issue.

His guns have been displayed at the following museums:

  • National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia
  • Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, Nevada
  • Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Stark Museum of Art in Orange, Texas
  • Royal Armouries, Tower of London
  • Autry National Center in Los Angeles, California

At present Francolini works in his home studio in Corrales, New Mexico and keeps Collectors informed of current projects via his website. There he posts pictures of guns he’s working on as they are being engraved, completed guns, and detailed engraving procedures.

The long list of intended engraving projects continues to get longer rather than shorter so he will always have a gun or two that needs some engraving.



Sheathmaker: Paul F. Long
West Kerrville, Texas

Paul Long started working with leather while attending Texas A&I back in 1951, and it remained a hobby of his until he retired in 1995. After retirement, Paul trained with a master boot and saddle maker for a year. This gave him a good foundation for taking his leather work into almost any direction. In 2004, Paul was asked to make some sheaths for a friend of his who made knives, and the rest is history. Now Paul specializes strictly in knife sheaths, and with nearly 60 years of experience in working with leather, he has become one of the leading sheath makers of our nation.



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.



Buddy ThomasonPhotography: Buddy Thomason
Denver, Colorado
E-mail contact:

Buddy Thomason has been active in the custom knife arena for over a decade; as collector, writer, photographer and supporter of knife and gun rights. Buddy has thoroughly embraced the new world of digital image capture, using state-of-the-art gear and software to produce stunning custom knife portraits and event video. His collaborative approach ensures that every client’s vision is fully realized in the final product. Click here to see more of Buddy’s work.



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

Knife Rights was organized in 2006 to ensure a Sharper Future™ for owners of one of mankind’s oldest and most commonly used tools. Elsewhere in the world, many of the knives sold and used daily in the U.S. are illegal or severely restricted and the restrictions are growing every day. Even in the U.S., efforts to demonize knives and to place more restrictions on knives are becoming more commonplace.

Without a dedicated grassroots organization to protect our knives, they are an easy target for those who seek restrictions on our freedoms. Knife Rights was formed to be America’s Grassroots Knife Owners Organization™.

The two pillars upon which Knife Rights stands are “Essential Tools – Essential Rights™.” We cannot retain the former without the latter. While our knives are primarily tools, and used as such the vast majority of the time, ultimately our right to own and carry these tools is enshrined in the Second Amendment for those rare times when they must be used in self-defense. The fight to protect our knives is the Second Front in Defense of the Second Amendment™.

Knife Rights is engaged in promoting legislation that eliminates irrational restrictions on knife possession and opposing anti-knife legislation, as well as the legal defense of knife owner civil rights.



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.

Knife Rights’ Donated Collaborations Benefiting NRA Institute for Legislative Action

Knife Rights’ Donated Collaborations Benefiting NRA Women’s Leadership Forum