Rade was born in Cherokee County, Georgia (which is in the northern part
of the state). He always lived in Georgia, except for a brief
when I was in the Navy. He started making knives in 1970, and celebrated30 years of knife making. In 1976, he joined the Knifemaker's
Guild. Rade make all types of knives from: folders, fighters, hunters and fancy
Rade was a voting member of the Knifemakers Guild, the American
Bladesmith Society (Journeyman Smith),
the Flint River Knife Club and the National Rifle Association. In 1999,
he was honored by the Knifemaker's Guild, who presented him with the Red
Watson Memorial Friendship Award. This award is the only award given to
a knifemaker by the Knifemaker's Guild. He won numerous awards for
knives at a variety of shows throughout his career, but the "Red Watson"
award was a career achievement.
association with the Knifemaker's Guild and Bladesmith's Society has been
very rewarding. The two groups as a whole are some of the most helpful
folks he encountered. They all shared experience and information freely
to newcomers. He felt it was an honor to be associated with these groups
of custom knife people.
Rade's first knives were mostly hunting knives with an occasional Bowie thrown
in. His method of making knives varied greatly. He used both the stock removal
method and the forging method. He flat ground and did hollow grinding. Each of
those methods had advantages and disadvantages. He preferred to use stainless
tool steel for all of his non-forged blades with either a flat or hollow
ground surface according to his specific application. His best edge holding stainless tool steel was 420-V, second was 440-V. These
two steels are very difficult to work with, but they provide superior
edge holding and corrosion resistance (traits that he demanded in his finished
designs). His favorite stainless tool steel was 154-CM. It held an edge
very well and took a lot of abuse. He also liked to work with Damascus
steel, both stainless and carbon. He preferred the stainless Damascus, due
to its corrosion resistance. He did not make his own Damascus. He purchase
it from the top makers around the world. Rade did my own heat-treating and
then sent the blades to a commercial firm for 24-hour cryogenic treatment.
For handle materials, he use a variety of materials both natural and man-made;
almost anything you could imagine... plus a few others!
We hope you enjoy this site and get the opportunity to invest in a "Rade Hawkins" custom
knife for your collection. If you would like information about items available on this site, please contact June or Russell Hawkins here.