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The Family Tree - February/March 2005
New Mexico Tartan Day Knife Maker


By Ralph Stevenson, Jr.

Jerry in his ShopFor 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



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 Ralph L. Stevenson, Jr., a New Mexico citizen, has written for several newspapers and national journals.  


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