Sometimes it looks like all the big names in knife design are linked in one way or another. Bob Loveless joined the Merchant Navy in 1944. The Bauhaus heritage has influenced his latest knife models, known for their straight and clear lines.
In 1953, Bob Loveless saw a pair of Randalla knives that were very popular at the time. As he didn’t seem to be a credible buyer, the seller told Bob that the knives were nine months late. Disappointed by the response, Bob designed and produced his first Cheva spring knife, which he bought in the demolition yard and hardened in his ship’s boiler room.
Randall knives influenced the first of Bob Loveless’ designs.. Right from the start, Bob worked on a skinner, which he would come to perfect in the years to come. It was only by 1969 that Bob decided that knife making would be his sole profession.
Loveless has never entered into mass knife production. Instead, he made unique, hand forged knives, which he sold at the knife shows across the USA. It was only when he also sold his designs to big manufacturing companies, who then made these designs in bulk.
Excellent ergonomics are what made Bob Loveless became renowned for. His capability to make an outstanding design, which was then often copied by others. His Drop Point Hunter is regarded as a paramount hunting design even today; copied by many, improvement attempted by a few and as yet superseded by none.
Aside from the unquestionable quality of all his knives, Bob Loveless knives are famous for the immense impact on the knife-making industry across the world. He was the first one in the United States who used stainless ATS 34 steel, which was used for jet engine fans. Even today, the ATS 34 is steel for choice for industry and hand forged knives.
Not only was it steel, but Bob Loveless is also the “father of the martyr” because he was the first to use this popular material in the manufacture of his sleeves. Micarta is a material made of canvas or paper laminated and glued with phenolic resins. For years, it was widely used in electrical installations, but today its main application is now the blade holder.
Bob Loveless is also a pioneer in the design where blade, head, and handle were made in one piece, which was a great success in the 70s. There is always a lot to say about Bob Loveless and his hunting knives. He has designed several hunting knives and combat knives, but his most poignant success is the hunters, who are the most widely replicated knives in history.
What is the easiest way to describe a Loveless hunting knife? Frankly, it is a knife that does not need to be improved or simplified. It is a blade that has no additional features. Loveless has perfected the shape of the folding tip of the flat blade. He chose to combine it with an extraordinarily ergonomic handle with a small head, acting as more of an aesthetic than a safety feature. Depending on the material, the handle often had a three-dimensional shape to ensure a better grip.
Over the years, Bob Loveless has manufactured several thousand knives and hundreds of models. It would be a huge task to describe them all with the attention they deserve, but they have a common mark: a naked girl lying on her side and “R W Loveless” engraved. The same mark is on the right side, with the text mirrored.
His designs are known for his every-day-carry (EDC) knives. It is no secret that his hunter’s knives are also world renowned
The shorter blades and thinner handles, distinguish the EDC from the hunters. The EDC commonly have a groove for your finger instead of a bolster.
If the price of Loveless’ original knives puts you off, then there are many versions available by other manufacturers though with lower grade materials.
Many high-end replicas will perform as well as Bob’s original.
I’m sure many of you may even own a knife that replicates a Bob Loveless model. So many have been influenced (or blatantly copied) by other lesser producers.
I hope this article will help you recognize the qualities and true origin of the knife you own.