LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An East Texas man is crafting one-of-a-kind handmade knives, but what makes them so unique is what they're made of. Richardson Knives in Lufkin is selling an exclusive line of knives made out of steel from American battleships offering people the opportunity to own a piece of history.
Percy Richardson prepares a steel blade before it becomes a hand-crafted piece of history.
"The business of America's Fighting Ships Knives is to take steel from different ships from different wars, and we make knives out of those and sell them," Richardson said.
Richardson has been collecting steel from battleships for more than 20 years, and five years ago, he started designing knives made from the U.S.S. Texas BB-35, or the Battleship Texas.
"We'll sell 500 made out of steel from the Battleship Texas that we make right here in shop," Richardson said.
And making these knives is a complex craft.
"We got old steel from the ship which is so rusty you don't think it's good for anything, and it gets cleaned with acid, and then it's forged out into a real flat piece," Richardson said.
The finished straight knife is both collectible and functional.
"To me, for the next five or six years, these are going to be the most collectible knives on the market and the reason is because they're historic ... you can't just go down to the Battleship Texas and get a piece of steel," Richardson said.
Richardson is the exclusive fighting ships knife maker. He has steel from about 16 different ships and is even crafting one for a former president.
"We're doing a knife for President Bush 41. It's made out of steel from the U.S.S. San Jacinto that he was on during the war, and it'll be displayed in the presidential office over at the library in College Station."
Richardson says his main reason for selling the cutlery is to raise awareness and promote education.
"Part of the money goes to the Battleship Texas Foundation and what they do is help fund the maintenance of the ship and the educational programs which is so important to educate the youth about our history."
And it's already making a difference.
"We started doing these particular knives for the Battleship Texas in July, and so far, their portion is $25,000," Richardson said.
But that's not all, $10 from every knife he sells including the custom knives outside the fighting ship collection, go to the Wounded Warriors Project.
Richardson will be forging knives from the U.S.S. Cavalla, a submarine, the U.S.S.Galveston, the U.S.S.. Lexington in Corpus Christi, and the U.S.S. Elissa in Galveston next.
A pocket knife made from the steel and wood decking from the Battleship Texas will be available in November.
To learn more about the America's Fighting Ships collection, go here: http://www.americasfightingshipsknives.com/Home.html
To learn more about Richardson Knives, go here: http://www.richardsonhandmadeknives.com/index.html
Richardson Knives is located at 1508 Atkinson Drive, Lufkin, TX. The phone number is (936) 634-1690.