By Ralph Stevenson, Jr.
the past 25 years Albuquerque's South Valley has been home to an
internationally known member of the prestigious Knife Maker's Guild.
From this home Jerry T. Duran carries on the ancient tradition of
producing one-of-a-kind bench made knives in his Albuquerque studio.
While Jerry can produce traditional folding knives, cutlery, and
collection art pieces, all hand-forged from cable, chain, or various
types of high carbon steels, he favors the use of Damascus steel for
his more exotic pieces; and he believes in using natural materials for
the handles. Of special interest for him is the use of stabilized
woods, horn, ivory, ebony, antler and bone.
Since he's had a long association with members of Albuquerque's
Scottish community, Jerry was asked to produce a sqian dubh for New
Mexico's Tartan Day Coordinator, H. William Hart. Not wanting to
imitate the historical Scottish "black blade" that is usually placed
in top of the sock for the kilt wearers, Jerry chose a simple yet
functional design without an appliquéd thistle handle. He began with
a piece of ATS-34 stainless steel and a block of cocobolo wood.
Beginning the timely process, he shaped the blade with the traditional
"clip point" and chose not to include the Victorian "blood groove" one
sees on stock produced small blades.
After many hours of shaping, the hardening process is started, then
comes the long series of polishing and sharpening of the blade. When
these stages are completed to his satisfaction, the etching of his
trademark logo is placed on one side of the blade and the serial
number is placed on the other. A highly polished cocobolo is then
fitted on to the tang of the knife and held by 21 brass pins. The New
Mexico Sqian Dubh completed and now Jerry works on a form fitted oiled
brown leather sheath stamped with his logo - elk antler rack with
initials "JTD Knives".
Numerous articles have been written here and abroad about Jerry T.
Duran's knives, and year after year his works have received "Best of
Show" at the Contemporary Hispanic Market in Santa Fe and the New
Mexico Arts & Crafts Fair in Albuquerque.
JTD Knives, LLC can be reached at POB 80692, Albuquerque, New Mexico,
USA 87198; or by calling Jerry at 505-873-4676
Ralph L. Stevenson, Jr., a New Mexico citizen, has written for
several newspapers and national journals.