Many people have written about Bob.
Together their words provide a portrait as well rounded as his organic workrest..
WARNING.....This page is a rollercoaster ride.
Bob doing what he really loved to do
Bob Engnath, a friend, a man, a knife maker...a name that is not unknown, yet a man who was never given his due. It would be an injustice to say that Bob Engnath was famous...For he was more than that. He was a fine man, a hard working man, a fellow who would always have a smile, or a grimace, depending upon the situation.
Having been the victim of his sense of humor on more than a few occasions, he was my friend, and this is a term I do not use often..Godfather to my children, friend to me, compadre and partner in crime, our friendship endured some of the most difficult times that two men could have. The death of my first wife...the accident that nearly killed his son...yet, we remained steadfast, and that was the man that Bob Engnath was...he was a rock...Surely there are those that will say that I am just saying this because he is dead.......NO....I am saying this because this was the way he is..When I was told of his passing, I was shocked to the point of non-belief. Hoping it was one of his jokes that I have fell victim to before...But I knew deep down that it was not...and then I realized that the world is now a lesser place than it was, and that no one can fill the emptiness that his untimely passing has left.
Bob was a passionate man, with a lust for life...a fire in his belly as it is said. A better man, a more honest man as yet to live and we all are lessened by his passing. It has been said that a man's worth is judged by his friends...and that is most certainly true with Bob.. Folks from around the world knew of him, spoke to him, and got to know that tall lanky fellow with that stupid brown hat....A talented man with a gift in his hands, and a wonderful soul in his heart has passed from us.
It is with great grief and loss I write this, for someone very precious to my family, myself and to everyone who knew him was taken by the Angel of Death far too soon. So to you, my friend...I wish you God's speed, and I hope and pray that you are there to meet me when my time comes...I miss you...you were..and still are..the brother I never had.
JPH Demented Jim
I never got a chance to meet Bob and I am sorry for that. The few times we talked, I knew he was a man whose company I would enjoy. I always considered him one of the pillars of the knifemaking community. He wasn't high profile, but through his work, he introduced a lot of men to knifemaking. He was a teacher and gave generously of his time and hard earned knowledge. He was a fine craftsman and the numbers of pieces that he produced in his lifetime is staggering. It is very sad to see him pass on so young, he will be missed.
To Stephany, I just want to extend my deepest sympathy. All I can say is that I will be one of many who will miss Bob. I can truly say both you and Bob were there for me whenever I needed you.
You never met me, but you affected my life greatly. A friend handed me a copy of your catalog and sparked an interest in making knives. I always collected knives, but never thought I could actually make one of my own. Your catalog is like a bible of common sense advice, suggestions and how to's that has provided me with such great lessons, and the know how to make what I consider beautiful knives.
I never got a chance to thank you, you touched so many, rest well, and keep the sparks flying in the sky.
John A Franklin
So there I was one day, pushing a broom through the store, cleaning up Bob's grinding dust. After all, I grew up in the House of Muzzleloading; if you'd been there sometime up until about 1987, I was likely there on weekends, either casting ball or washing the cases. The dust from the rear of the shop would migrate out toward the rest of the world, coating the floor with dark footprints.
Bob was grinding that day, and I remember watching him from the other side of the dusty curtain, knowing that I was supposed to stay out on the other side while he was working. I was probably about eight years old at that point. He stopped the grinder, stepped back, flipped up the face guard, and examined the knife with a look of satisfaction on his face. He then noticed me peeking in the backroom, and smiled, waving me back.
That day, he showed me how he made the pretty sparks. I will miss watching him make the pretty sparks, even though now I'm considerably older than eight and have a daughter of my own. And after years of cleaning up the black dust (and playing soldiers in it with his son, Kirk), and running amok in the backroom filled with grinder equipment; years of designing blades that have always remained in my mind, I still remember watching him make the pretty sparks.
I'll have to ask him for a lesson in heaven someday. Always meant to; just never got around to it. Course, the best intentions always wait, right?
There were years of New Year's Eves with him; he and Stevie (and sometimes Kirk) would come over to the house, and sit and play hearts with my folks. In earlier years, Kirk and I would goof off in the backyard or in the bedrooms, playing with assorted toys and eventually falling asleep to the laughter in the other room.
He was like another dad to me at times, and I'll miss him fiercely. Maybe sometime I'll see some of the pretty sparks he ground, coming down as falling stars...
Rest well, Bob. Be blessed. (And don't call him Bobby!)
Lori Nielsen-Fuller (Leif Nielsen's daughter - Bob's ex-partner at House of Muzzle Loading)
I met Bob over 20 years ago in a rather interesting fashion. Bob was working at "Interpace", a company that made all the dishes your grandmother used. My job as a commercial photographer was to photograph them. My contact was Bob. If I needed to turn on a kiln or photograph a production line, Bob arranged it.
As years went by, I became interested in Black Powder rifles and Bob sent me to Leif, his partner at the "House of muzzeloading". I slowly wandered into the knife section....and when Bob started his Japanese line, I was right there. It changed my life.
Bob started me doing shows. I won Best New Maker at Anaheim with my knife on his table. He sold me my first grinder and taught me to use it. My career in knifemaking has always been with him looking over my shoulder. There was never any critisism...just encouragement. Bob was a mentor, and then became a best friend. He was always easy to know and respect, you can see that with the outpouring of affection just from the internet alone. I will really miss him. Add my voice to the chorus.......
Scott Slobodian, Maker
My first contact with Bob & Stevie was at the OKCA in 1992. I had puttered around with imported blades for several years prior to that but was never satisfied with the quality.
I bought a handful of blades, and armed with Bob's catalog, went at it. They turned out pretty good and the following year at OKCA I sheepishly asked Bob if it would be okay to put my name on the blades that I had finished. He gave me a big smile and said never apologize or be ashamed to put your own name on something that is 90% yours. That is all it took. I now have very little spare time.
The following five years I acquired a table at the OKCA show on the same aisle as Bob's . During that period of time, I must have sent 75 or more people down to Bob's tables who wanted to do what I was doing. We had such great fun, especially when someone went out the door with a catalog, a handful of blanks and gleam in their eye just as I did six or seven years ago.
Ihave never done anything I love as much as completing blades I had gotten from Bob. His untimely passing is one of life's cruel realities that we will never become used to. Nor will they ever be easy. We will all become a little stronger as a result of Bob's caring, but all to brief, touch on our lives. The void can never be filled. He will always be remembered.
I first dealt with Bob 15 years ago, back in the days of The House of Muzzle Loading, when I bought my first two blades from him. With his "coaching" over the phone I was actually able to turn them into something that resembled knives. For several years I played around with his blades, never really doing any justice to the quality of his work.
In 1993 I opened a shop Wick's of Colorado and finally got serious about making custom knives. The shop used Bob's blades exclusively. I assure you that here in Colorado Bob's blades are being used in the hunting fields daily and shall continue to do so. The knives I have made from his blades are also being used in; Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Texas, Alaska, Utah, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Washington, New Mexico, California and Arizona.
Along with the passing of Bob, it saddens me to think of all the young up coming hunters that will never have the chance to carry one of "his" blades into the field.
Bob, I am so sorry that we never had the opportunity to meet in person. If not for your advice and encouragement along with that of others, I would not be the halfway decent knife maker I am today. I, like everyone else who has ever picked up a piece of steel and thought about making a "tool" out of it will miss you greatly.
There never was, nor ever will be, many men like Bob Engnath. A few may approach his kindness, knowledge, civility, and plain decency: Not many will match him.
My introduction to "Grind" was through the internet mailing list knife-list, where I was first impressed by his clear and pertinent advice to aspiring knifemakers.
Later, I had my shop vandalized, with quite a bit of loss and damage. Many of the knife-list folks helped me rebuild, but Bob had a bit of a way about him: He sent me a copy of his catalog, a veritable knifemakers' primer. To protect the catalog in shipping, he told me, he wrapped it in several pieces of brand-new 5160 stock.
I've been holding on to that stock, waiting for the right project. The first piece I make from it will be marked: "In Memoriam -- Bob Engnath." I hope that knife will be worthy of his memory.
We won't soon see another "Grind."
Those of us in knifemaking know there was never a finer man among us. I make knives in part because of reading Bob's wonderful prose that made knifemaking seem a less daunting and manageable task. I also own two of Bob's tanto's - the first I bought as a modest payback for what I learned from Bob, the second I bought because of the first. I will truly miss this gentle and enormously talented man.
Where does one start? Bob was a remarkable man. His reputation perfect, his knowledge in depth, his generosity profound. I am sorry that I didn't know him longer. I was at the beginning of my friendship with him and am somehow both jealous of those that knew him longer and priviledged that I knew him for the time that I did. I still have the first sword blank I bought from him some 6 or 7 years ago. It's been completed for years, finished and waiting to sell. I don't think I'll ever sell it now. A reminder to me of what Bob is, was and will always be to myself and the rest of the knife making community.
To you Bob, see ya later!
Bob Engnath was an excellent role model for any man in the knife business. He never said a bad word about anyone, took the knife business where it had not been before, his ethics were outstanding, his word was ironclad. I'd rather have had a handshake with Bob Engnath than a lawyered up contract with any other knife name you care to mention. He was a hero and an example to a lot of people who never said anything to him in gratitude, he looked like he would always be there.
Thanks, Mr. Engnath.
Back early in "91" I was seeking information on the craft of Knife making. Some how I got hold of the address for "Blades and Stuff". I drove to Glendale and pulled up to the curb of a small store front. I thought at the time how small it was. I was wrong! Over the following years I realized just how huge it was in the amount of Knowledge, skill, generosity, kindness, and sheer voulume in number of blades Bob produced.
On that first day I met Bob, I walked in and there were several customers looking around. Bob walked over to me and ask if he could help me with anything. 20 minutes later as Stephanie kept the customers at bay, I continued to bomb-bard Mr. Engnath with questions. He addressed every single one even though today some of them seem to have been quite foolish. He even suggested I attend a Cal-Knifes meeting to see if I liked it.
I'm still a member today. While cleaning out shop the other night I ran across a couple of lenghts of L/6 that Bob had given me on one of my last visits, to try out! I'll bet Bob gave away almost as much steel as he sold. What a giant hearted man he was. We'll all miss you Bob. Rest in peace. My deepest sympathy to Stevie and Kirk.
It is with profound sadness that I heard of Bob Engnath's passing from this world. It is with no less sadness that I write this testimonial, save that, in the writing, I am reminded of what he did for me.
Some time ago, I became compromised by a neurological disorder (from which I may at this time be recovering -- the jury is still out). Before this disturbance affected my life, I was engaged in many physical endeavors, including the martial arts.
After being in the martial arts for more than 25 years, I began to study the sword (the Japanese katana). I was just beginning to get the feel of it, when my physical condition deteriorated to the point that I could not regularly practice anymore. I was devastated, and my inability to physically participate in such an important part of my life was one of the hardest challenges with which I have ever had to deal.
My fascination with the sword grew, however, and the more I read, the more Mr. Engnath's name came up. Then it happened -- to my joy and my wife's dismay (chuckle), the Blades 'n' Stuff catalog hooked me on knife and sword making. Using this catalog as a guide, I began a massive buying of tools and much grinding of metal. I was astounded at how precise Bob's instructions were (I had gotten used to people's instructions being off base!).
To bring this long story to a close, Mr. Bob Engnath helped me to get part of my life back. Through his encouragement, information and supplies, he helped me to stay in touch with my art. I learned something new, and made contact with a group of people who are, more than most, always willing to help and guide a new comer. As I continue to recover, I will have a new opportunity, the chance to use and practice with articles of metal art I made myself.
All the above is true, though I never met the man personally, nor had a chance to speak with him. It was my intention to make a special trip while in CA to meet him. It is an opportunity lost.
Mr. Engnath, thank you! To his wife, Stephanie, and his son, Kirk, I will forever be in Bob's -- and your -- debt. May you find some solace in the knowledge of all Bob did for everyone. I look forward to meeting you very soon.
With sincerest empathy and warmest regards,
Martin Finkelstein, Ph.D.
IF WHAT YOU'RE DOING ISN'T WORKING -- DO SOMETHING ELSE!
I am very shocked and saddened to hear of this. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Bob Engnath stood very tall in more ways than one. He was a very helpful person and always had a good word to say. I will always miss Bob Engnath; without him the world will never be the same. Hid death was the last thing in the world I would have ever expected. I keep hoping that this report is somehow a big mistake or a rumor gone amok but I know it is not. So long Bob. You were a credit to the community, and would have been in any place or time where human beings lived. Bob, you always walked on the high ground, all your life. I hope that your trail into the hereafter is a happy one.
Bob was one of the most self-less teachers in the whole knife industry. Even though I never met him face to face, he taught me an incredible amount via email and his publications, despite the fact that I was, at one time quite rude to him. He was a truly great and very kind man who touched on more lives than he could have known. I wish that I could have expressed to him even a tiny fraction of the gratitude that I have for his taking the time to teach me, (and others) some of the things that he did so naturally, and more importantly some of the lessons that he'd learned the 'hard way'.
Bob, THANK YOU!
I just got back into town and this caught me completely by surprise. I am very, very sorry to hear that Bob has died, for the last three months, his catlaog has been the most read document in the house, as I've been reading his tips at the workbench and planning which knife blade to get next. Bob's catalog was a revelation to me - the idea that "store bought" knife blades could be designed and executed as nicely as custom blades, that they didn't have to look like someone's hobby kit. I will sorely miss his place in the world.
I hope that Blades 'n Stuff will continue after their recovery from the shock. If there's anything the knife community can do to help, either by supporting the store or contributing anything, I hope it's published in this newsgroup. I'm going to send a personal letter of condolences.
I never met Mr. Engnath personally. However he has had a profound impact upon my life. I have always been interested in making knives. I went about it without much knowledge. Then I ordered the Blades 'N' Stuff catalog and the answers to most of my questions were in the catalog. This catalog has been used as a reference so often that the pages are tattered!
Even though I never met Mr. Engnath personally, I was taught through his experiences. I am sure that there are thousands of other's who are just as grateful as I am that he was so willing to give this hard earned information. The Knifemaking community has lost a true scholar. My deepest sympathies are extended to the Engnath family!
Last week I asked Bob to reproduce an iai-to of Japanese origin for me. His reply was both swift and to the point. I was impressed by what appeared to be a very high regard for service and quality. I've been collecting japanese swords for 18 years, Bob's name was truly Unique.
He will be missed very much.
I grieve with Bob's family and mourn his passing deeply. We have lost a giant of a man.
God, You let slip the knowledge of good and evil for us mere mortals, so that's why we dare to ask You, WHY?!
Maybe I'll imagine that You wanted somebody "up there" who could teach the old Wayland Smith the fine art of stock removal, and I'll watch for the next meteor shower.
Friend, teacher, gentleman of the trade, good guy, not to mention an awesome artist with steel.
Still in shock . . . .
Jim & Toni Mattis
There must be literally thousands of people who got their start in the world of knifemaking through Bob Engnath and the Blades n' Stuff catalog. I was fortunate enough to be one of those.
What I'll remember most about Bob is the patience he showed with those who were just starting to work knives. Even though some of the questions I asked were - shall we say - far from brilliant, Bob always took the time to answer, in a way that anyone could understand.
To Stephanie & Kirk, and all those dear family & friends of "Grind" I offer the words of strength and courage that Bob used to always use to end his correspondence..... "Hang in there"!
Bob was great. He inspired me to become a knifemaker and was the epitomy of what I wanted to become.
I had the honor of meeting Bob at the Las Vegas show this year. He was all I had heard and more. A true gentleman and giant in the knife art. The greatest gift someone can give is knowledge, something Bob shared with anyone that showed interest. Scrimshaw, finished knives, rough ground blades, all done with true artistry and a love for the craft. We have lost a teacher and a great man. He will be missed by all, but his body of work and shared knowledge will live on forever.
Bob Engnath was a deeply gifted artist who produced during his life, hundreds of the most beautiful, detailed, vivid, textured lifelike scrimshaw works we have in knifecraft.
Robert is probably the most prolific knife grinder in the history of this craft. He produced numberless thousands of near finished blade blanks each wonderfully hand crafted in American, World and original styles on his Burr Kings. His Japanese style swords, tantos, wakazashis and hardened edged naginatas, spearheads etc. were usually so beautiful and appealing that they flew into collectors and craftsman's hands faster than he could produce them. His finished blades were sweet and interesting and fine and sadly rare. A man with his artistic talent could have done anything in the knife world and he did most things.
The richness of Bob's design inventiveness, the respect he had for traditional constructions and designs were all expressed in the fascinating (and often changing) line of partially finished knife blades he made with his hands so neatly and so well.
The Catalogs for his knife supply business which he designed illustrated and wrote were among the most informative and valuable and interesting documents on the subject of fine knife craftsmanship and handwork. The catalogs alone would have established Bob's authority in the craft, so useful and interesting were they to anyone with a fascination for fine knifemaking.
Robert gave access to the world of fine handmade cutlery to so many people around the world that it would be hard to assess his influence. He was in a real way at the hub of the field and with his death its going to take a little time for our world to smooth out again.
If you knew Robert Engnath you probably liked him a lot. If you didn't know him you've missed out on something very good.
The first tuesday of June, nobody is going to pile into Bob's van in Glendale and ride down south to the monthly meeting of the Southern California Blade Collectors club. When the meeting is called to order there will be a strange feeling in the room. They will all miss the tall man with the wide flat brimmed brown hat and the easy way about him.
I heard from someone at True Grit that makers were going to donate a knife each to be auctioned with the proceeds going to benefit Stevie and Kirk Engnath. The only cause better than this would be one that brought Bob back.
Bob sold me my first piece of virgin steel. I had made a couple of skinning knives out of MGB springs and told him of some problems I was having. He dispatched Kirk to the back of the shop for a 4 ft piece of 5160 and told me to try it and let him know how it worked out. That rascal knew what he was doing? He got me hooked on making Bowies out of 5160. I even copied his design, California Eagle for my Big Bowie grind. You can see what he got me into at Ruppe's Blades!
I would be proud to donate one of these Bowies to the auction if anyone knows anything about it. Of course, then he introduced me to ATS-34. That's another story. Now, I can't stop grinding!
Here's to Bob -
a man amongst men
....... a man who always did right
Here's to Bob - a man amongst men
....... who faded away in the night
Here's to Bob - a man we will never let die
......as long as we grind and keep him in mind
........as long as the carbon sparks fly
I am sorry if its corny, its the way I feel.
This is truly sad news. Gifted knifemaker, talented teacher and scrimshander and probably the best damn poster ever on this NG(recknives).
May he grind in peace. He will be missed. Sympathy goes out to his loving family. I never met Bob, but based on what I have read of and by him , he was deeply loved by his family, and he deeply cherished them.
The entire knifemaking community has lost one of its best.
Showing my wares at various shows, I would enter and my first question after finding my table was " Bob Engnath here yet?" You see, a knife show would not be complete if Bob wasn't there.
Bob was gracious and taught me from his vast knowledge and would always find time to share with anyone with a interest in knifemaking on the how to's and where for's. Bob will always live on in every knifemaker and customer who knew and gained from his vast knowledge, the first answer I gave a newbie knifemaker was spend the money, buy one of Bob's catalogs, it contains more information than any how to knifemaker's book.
Living in all who he has helped, I will always remember Bob, and plan to pass his knifemaking knowledge along. I will always look for Bob at a future show, and maybe if I look real hard I can see a faint image of him standing in a corner looking over a table or standing at a belt grinder ready to help a new knifemaker.
A tanto made by Bob in the traditional style.
There has not been a man who has influenced me in the art of knifemaking more than Bob. He brought many fledglings the love of making a knife by suppling beautifully crafted blades filled with spirit. I can hardly believe that he is now gone. This is the hardest note I have ever written.
Steven C. Sams
The great Bob Engnath has left us to go and grind for God!
We may be tempted to think of the master as someone who stands on the apex of their craft creating virtuoso works of art at every hands turn. The true master is this and much more. The true master is not only an accomplished technician, craftsperson and artist. The true master also has the capacity to nurture the aspiring student, to convey a love of their chosen discipline to others, to convey their skills selflessly, and to find innovative ways of accomplishing age old tasks.
Invariably they do not extole their skills because the true master is also a student and realises that there is always more to learn. They do not hoard their secrets to the detriment of art in the hope of personal vainglory or gain. Rather they rush headlong into the fray of life and give their all without thought of return. These are the hero's of life and of art. These are the True Masters. They are a rare breed and usually, they are unique individuals.
One such unique individual is Bob Engnath who has given himself tirelessly to the greater good of all. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know Bob will count our blessings for the world of knives is now greatly impoverished by his passing. This gentle giant is no longer with us but his absence will not go unnoticed. Nor is the light he cast over the world of knives dimed. The fire he started can never be extinguished, as we will redouble our efforts to carry on his work in his absence. Big men cast long shadows and Bob's shadow will color our lives for generations to come.
If the measure of a true master is judged by the number of his apprentices as well as the quality of his work then Bob is the greatest Master of all time for he leaves behind a legion of makers who will judge the quality of their character by the standards he set. Bob's legacy is evident not only in the blades he made during his lifetime but also the blades we will make in his memory now that he is gone. We all miss you Bob. Many of us will never make a knife again without thinking of you. You have made your mark, not on the many blades you ground, but on our souls.
We will miss you Bob. Your wicked sense of humour, your kindness and support to us in times of trial and your encouragment in times of triumph are forever denied us except in our memory. We will "hang in there" as you would have urged us to do and we will count ourselves lucky to have known you.
Your legacy will live on well past your own lifetime in the lives of those you touched. Our hearts are sore.
Daith� O C�ileachair
As a relative newcomer to knifemaking, I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Engnath. It was something I looked forward to. His catalogue/primer was very instrumental in making my beginnings in knife grinding and finishing a really rewarding experience.
I once asked my friend Dick Patton what he thought about Mr. Engnath. Dick told me that Bob Engnath belonged to the very upper echelon of, not just knifemakers, but of people in general, when it came to integrity.
I'm very sorry I didn't get to meet him. I'll remember what he has done for me.
I am going to miss Bob very much. He helped me a lot.I met Bob in 1985 when I moved to Chino,Ca. Igot all of my supplies from Bob. If I needed any advice he did what every he could to help me. I just found out about Bob`s passing. I have been making knives for about 15 years.
Keep on grinding Bob we will all miss you.
I finally got a chance to meet Bob and Stephanie Engnath about a month ago. All the wonderful things you read and hear didn't do them justice. When I mentioned to Stephanie that it was one of Bob's articles in Knives XX that got me started in knifemaking, she 'dragged' him out of the back and he talked with me for quite some time. He'd been my hero as a teenager making knives, sort of the 'ultimate grinder'. In person he was even more impressive-friendly and precise, with all the time in the world for a hack like me.
I only met Bob twice, both times at the BAKCA show in SF, but we periodically corresponded over e-mail, or to put it more accurately, I asked relatively stupid questions and Bob always took the time to explain the answers to me. Being new to this field, it was great to find someone like Bob who had so much knowledge, and was always willing to share it. Bob helped me find the answer to why I was getting bends in my blades during heat treating. Even though I only had a short time to get to know Bob, I'm very thankful for having had the opportunity to correspond with him.
Eric A. Dobratz
In early April, I was in California on business and made a special effort to get out to Glendale and meet Bob Engnath. He was a warm, funny, open, and gentle man, and I counted it a pleasure at the time to have met him. Now that he's gone, I am deeply saddened but also deeply grateful that I did get that opportunity to make his acquaintance and talk with him. While I was there, I bought one of his blades, and I will think of him as I finish it.
We'll miss you, Bob.
One of my heros. I will miss you.
Roger D. George
I am very sorry to hear about Bob passing away. I did business with him a few times and I really enjoyed working with his blades. He supplied the best blade blanks I ever used. I met Bob and his wife at the guild show in Orlando. Bob was a great guy to talk to. I think I got more good advice and helpful hints on knifemaking out of Bob's catalogue than from most books dedicated to the subject.
I am the guy who traded him that enormous morning star. It was made from a piece of decorative fence from St. Augustine. Bob said he had a terrible time getting it home on the airplane and his wife was appalled by the thing.
My condolences on your loss. Bob spread alot of joy around with those blades. I only wish I could have met him in person in lieu of talking on the phone (which was very enjoyable in itself). Thanks for processing my order during this stressful time. My thoughts are with you all.
I'm sorry to hear of your loss. I read about it in rec.knives. Every post there spoke highly of Bob and regrets at his passing. I enjoyed his web site for his tips and hints although I've never made a knife in my life. I'm unsure if you have any of his blades available but I would love to try my hand at making a knife. Everyone spoke highly of Bobs blades and I would like to work with the best.
Again I'm sorry for your loss.
My deepest sentiments go to Mrs. Engnath. I was referred to Mr. Engnath earlier this year by Gene Martin.
I was interested in making my first knife, and Gene and Bob both gave me good advice on how to get started. I had planned on purchasing a Damascus blade from Bob, he had offered to send some photos of some of his blades he had available. I just completed what I consider a "beginners" knife, I wanted to prove to myself I could do it before I screwed up a beautiful damascus blade!
It has been a few months since I last had contact with Mr. Engnath, and was hoping to see if he had any scanned pictures of his blades that he could send me. If there happen to be any of his damascus blades still for sale, I would like to know about them. I would consider it an honor to have one of his last blades.
Please accept my heart-felt condolences. I was shocked and saddened when I learned of Bob's passing! I never met Bob in person, but the few times I e-mailed him with questions, he came across as an honorable and caring man.
I appreciated his timely answers to my amateur questions and the quick shippment of a "Good Ol' Blade." The blade has since been completed following the advice he freely gave. The very satisfying result is more of an endoresement of his skill and direction than mine. It seems that Bob started another amateur along a very satisfying hobby.
I only wish that I could have thanked him personally. Bob and I could have become good friends! He had already set the ball in motion with his honesty and caring. I will miss Bob as I'm sure many other satisfied customers will too!
I hope Blades 'N Stuff will continue carry on in his absence. Please let us amatures and some professionals too, know when you are ready to accept orders again.
Charles "Chuck" Papp
I have worked a few of his wonderful blades. On my last order I talked to Bob himself, I wanted to order one blade but it was not available. He suggested an alternative and I took it. As it turns out I fell in love with the blade and now use it for my hunting knife.
I send my heartfelt sympathies to the wife and family of Bob Engnath. I knew him mainly as an underrated scrimshander, and bought every female study I saw on the table.
Robert G. Hill
I had no idea of Bob's untimely death. Please accept my condolances. The knife community and really the world in general has lost a good one. Keep the faith and good luck and God Bless.
From the east coast we have just heard of your loss. Bob will be missed by both the knife making community and everybody who has ever come in contact with him. It was through him that myself and two of my friends be came involved in this passion of knife crafting. May God bless you and keep you close. All who know have you in our hearts.
Jamie Gregorio Lupole
I can't tell you how sad finding this site made me feel. I am new to knives and just got the Blades 'n' Stuff catalog two days ago to order kydex. I read that catalog cover to cover and loved it. I got online this afternoon to see if I could find out more about forming sheaths, and on knife.com's page there was a link here. I'll never know Bob outside of his writing, but wherever he is, I wish him well.
I was just checking the web page and learned about Bob's passing. You have my deepest sympathy.
I have purchased several blade blanks over the past few years, and I communicated with Bob by e-mail; most recently he was encouraging me to try my hand at finishing one of the Japanese style blades. I actually met Bob and the rest of you once, at your shop, when I drove up from a conference in San Diego. Bob will be missed by many people.
There isn't much else I can say except that if you decide to continue the business I will continue to buy your "blades n stuff."
Stephanie, I don`t know if you remember me or not. Bob is the one that got me started in the art of knifemaking. It got discouraging but Bob always kept me going. My wife died two years ago and I haven`t touched a piece of steel since but I`m wanting to get started again.
I`ve been looking for your e-mail adress for awhile. Now that I found it I wished I hadn`t. I`m so sorry. I hope ya`ll will be able to keep going. I know for one I depended on ya`ll a lot. I`ll surely miss Bob and his humor. If I can do anything let me know.
Gary Robling, Sr.
I am sorry to hear of your loss. I had talked to Bob around the 10th of May about doing some blades from some Vascowear I had come across, then a few days later things must have gone bad. I appreciate all you have done and got a lot of my knowledge from Bob and your info on the web.
When I called back I was told of a loss in the family, I am terribly sorry. I have heard nothing but good of you guys, hope you stay in the business. If your intentions are to stay in business, I would appreciate the opportunity to order a catalog. I am new to knife-making and so far have met a lot of good people, Bob was very helpful and was well thought of.
Again, I want to thank you for the helpful information given me by you all. Hope to order a catalog if they are still available. Thanks.
We bought five katana blades two years ago, and after I had some contacts by e-mail with Bob. He was a lovely person and worked with steel very very well. Best regards for his family. His memory is in his work.
I first met Bob about 8 years ago at a knife show in the San Francisco Bay area, where I grew up. He set me up with the goods to make my first knives. Bob and Stephanie both have given me great advice during my fledgling attemps at crafting a knife by hand, with minimal tools.
I will really miss him, and wish to give my sympathy to Stephanie and Kirk. I understand how they must feel, as my own father passed away last July.
May God bless Bob and his family.
I'm very sorry to hear about your loss. I know this is a difficult time. There are so many just wonderful people in the knife making industry that I just have to believe that you will find the assistance that you need to continue running your business successfully.
I JUST discovered your knife blank business this evening, based on an article in the June issue of Knives Illustrated (Bud Lang's article on Satin Finishing). I have been collecting for a bit over 1 year now, but would like to try my hand at some basic knife "assembling" with a few of your great designs.
Your home page mentions that "our blade stock is now non-existent." I'm not sure I understand what this means.
Are you yet in a position to accept orders for any or all of the patterns outlined on your homepage? I could reel off a list of the blanks that have caught my fancy (gosh, from Loveless Hunters, to his New York Special, to kitchen knives), but will await your reply.
Thanks, and best wishes in this difficult time.
Robert D. Angerer
A few months ago I first started to read the messages in the newsgroup rec.knives. One of the regular posters who always gave advice in a friendly way to newbees and old pros alike was named Bob Engnath.
Only after a while did learn that he was a professional shaper of blades. One post said literally "the best thing you can do as a beginner is to buy the catalogue of Blades 'N' Stuff, Bob Engnath's shop."
I was realy shocked when I learned of his passing away so suddenly, even though I never even exchanged a message with him. To still benefit from his wisdom I want to order one such catalogue. Is it possible to mail it to germany?
I always told Bob it was his fault I caught this 'knifemaking disease' but he wasn't into small talk. Then I'd ask him how (for instance) you do 'this or that' and he'd start into a quick lesson holding up one of his blades and pointing to that spot and............. It's so clear in my minds eye even after all these years. I always think back on those 'tips and tricks' that I learned from The Master when I make knives.
Donald J. Ruetenik
Mr. Engnath should be considered a very meca, the wealth of knowlege, Japanese blades unsurpassed in beauty and construction. He took a line and taper so much futher toward perfection, as a budding bladesmith there was no tangable equal. I had more chance to study Mr. Engnath's designs than to even come close to the work of Mr. Bell, Jimmy Fikes, and without reproach Master Yoshindo Yoshihara, for this reason Mr. Engnath will always remain my tutor from a far away place in whatever new place I chose to reside. He will be sorrily missed.
With that there is a new great void I can only hope the youngsters will rise, the charge that Mr. Engnath spilled fourth as a legacy. Open knowledge, freedom to explore uncharted domain, always leaving the Guffa's at bay. Mr. Engnath was always a friend, acquaintance, perhaps a passer by at any show. He was that one to stop and take in, as he knew all the work involved to bring fruition a completed project. Without his merriment there will be a certain void lacking in this new genius. Todays breed that was so very lucky to have learned from the very best.
Mr. Engnath, you are sorely, and will foreever be missed.
E. A. Morris
A curtain of sadness fell last night when I read on your Web page of Bob Engnath's passing. I read over your 'Remembrances' and, even though Bob's and my 'brushing' was only tangential, I felt the loss of a friend and mentor.
It must be close on three years ago when Bob replied by email to some queries I had posted in a newsgroup regarding heat treatment of different steels. He was then, to me, just "Bob Engnath" living somewhere in the USA! We interchanged emails for many months, he always delving into what seemed like an inexhaustable cyclopaedic knowledge of our common interest and giving excellent 'instruction' in such a friendly and unassuming manner. He would help and encourage in any area I queried.
I happened to mention this to a friend who also had similar interests. He said that he had some articles by a 'Bob Engnath' from quite a few years ago and he lent me these to read...... Sounded like the same fellow to me!
So, when I next wrote to Bob, I told him of these excellent articles on steel shaping and hardening and asked if I had stumbled on "the Guru" himself... In his reply, I could feel his chuckling and warmth in the light of this 'exposure'.
Many months later, about two years ago in one of our emails, he wrote how he had "picked up some secondhand magazines and books for me at a show" (at Las Vegas, I think) as a gift and that he could send them out if I would pay the freight. ...... About 2 cubic feet of package arrived with an array of magazines and material that I am still looking through. The cost was AUS$97 !!!... He had paid for this and sent them off just on his trustful insight that he would be reimbursed (which I did immediately)...... But how many others would have done this..... to an unknown at the other end of the world 'down under' ?? Such was one measure of this man!!!
We joked about the changing knife laws. In March this year, we had been discussing the prospective 'new ' knife laws in my state and he wrote: ...." How in all blue hell some desk bound idiot can even think of registering knives is beyond me. Be about as easy as getting your roos to get a marriage license before they reproduce."
He also wrote of his 'mate'..... "We went to a ABS hammer in near Long Beach Saturday and it was impressive. They had a couple fellows who could work a blade up, hunter size, in about six heats. Stephanie got to cut the hanging rope and hammer on steel. Guess I'm married to one of "the guys."" He had mentioned Stephanie several times before and each time the love and sharing he had with his Lady was most apparent!
Earlier this year he gave me specific instructions for disassembling some very large roller bearings for forging saying , "....Get the ring out and just turn the inner circle sidewise to the outer and it all comes apart like a cheap puzzle...." It did , too,.... after several hours!! I'll bet he had a smile at that!
These are just a few small examples of how this 'special' person in our world touched me. His trust, his warmth, his humour, his ever willingness to share his seemingly unlimited knowledge and experience and his encouragement to 'pursue' came across in his letters as if he lived next door. And such attributes of this outstanding man were apparently spread worldwide. His immeasurable influence by example will continue for a very long time. I feel so privileged to have just 'tangentially' brushed by him....... Thank you, Bob!
Please, Zoe, pass on my sympathy and my very best wishes to Bob's family.
Do you have some photos of Bob? How about his knives or his scrimshaw? Please send them to me so that I can include them on this site. Thank you!
This web page was created by Zoe Martin
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