Les Georges

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  • Surname: Georges
  • First name: Les
  • Country: USA
  • Website: www.georgeknives.com
  • e-mail: Les@georgeknives.com

Could you depict a self-portrait ?

My name is Les George, I am 28 years old and I am originally from Wichita, Kansas USA. My knife interest goes back to my early child hood. At the time I was an aspiring knife collector and had amassed a box full of cheap knives. I started making knives when my parents started limiting how many knives I could buy. I asked if I could make my own and they told me to go right ahead. Turns out my parents never thought anything would come of it.
I continued to make knives hard and fast until I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1997. Knives then took a back seat in life to my new found desire for travel and adventure. I have traveled a lot and lived in a lot of different places in the Marines. I have lived and worked in Africa, Europe, South and Central America and though out Asia. Knife making is not a very travel friendly activity so I made no knives between 1997 and 2005. One day I was talking to my wife, Bianca, about how much I missed making knives. She said something to the affect of well why don’t you just start up again? We had our own place off base and I finally had a small place to work and no more excuses to keep me from it. I bought a few basic tools and started relearning everything again.
Him and his wife
My wife, Bianca, and I on holiday in Costa Rica 2003. As for my job in the Marines, I am an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician. The military Bomb Squad, so to speak.

How have you come to balisong, and why do you like this kind of knife ?

My first assignment out of the US brought me to Mozambique, in Africa, which is where I encountered my first Balisong. Someone brought me a cheap balisong and asked me if I could sharpen it for him. I couldn’t stop playing with it while I had it and it was very hard to give back. Not too long after that I bought a BM 42. Five minuets later I cut myself and I have been hooked on them ever since.
I think a Balisong makes an excellent knife for a collection. Most custom knives never see any of the use that they where intended for. Few people want to use an expensive knife hard. A balisong can be played with, manipulated and enjoyed for what it is with little risk of damage.

How have you come to produce balisongs ?

Most people that make knives make the ones they like. I like balisongs, so I make balisongs, I just can’t help myself!

What inspires you, what is your muse ? Is balisong a knife which permits you to artistically express yourself ? Does it better than for another folder ?

In all art forms I enjoy a more subtle form. Things are excellent in their simplicity and form. The design of the knife should make it such that you can not help but pick it up and admire it, in the case of the Balisong, you can not help but flip it. The balisong is complicated in its simplicity. A balisong is very easy to make but very difficult to make well. It is something that offers constant room for improvement to me and I continue to try to make each one better than the last.

Which material do you prefer for blades (different steels) and handles (Titanium, g10, brass, wood) and why are they your favorite ?

My favorite steel is D2. When it comes to high quality knife steel, I do not believe that there is any one supper steel that is best for all knives. I think that the use of the knife and the desires of the user must be taken into account and the steel can be chosen from there. I like Titanium for handle hardware because of all the different ways it can be used and treated. Colors and contours with Titanium seem to be endless and is something that I want to experiment with more in the future.
I used to be quite opinionated about my materials. I used to think that the materials that I used and the way I did things was the best way, period the end. As I have grown in life and in knives, I realize a few problems with that. For one, I have found that I was wrong, I did not single handedly hold the keys to well made knives. I also realized that there are a lot of paths that can lead to the same end. I have learned that, for the most part, it is not the tools, or the procedures that make a knife well made or not. It is the person on the end of that tool and their mastery of that tool and their willingness to go the distance to make the best knife they can. This craft is a very personal and emotional thing for everyone involved in it, makers, and owners alike. The knife must be more than the sum of its parts.
My wife and I at Blade 2006

Do you use CNC machine or do you work exclusively manually? What do you think the CNC machine brings ?

I do not have access to or the skill to use a CNC so all my work is currently done by hand. For the most part CNC is a question of productivity, in my humble opinion. Some makers have made the CNC a part their style, in that aspect it is just another tool that allows a different kind of work. Like anything else it is neither good nor bad in and of itself.

What do you look for in a knife ? (Specifically in a balisong)

I tend to like big knives. Balisongs are no different, go big!

Do you EDC a balisong ?

AS I am in Iraq as I write this, my knife needs are a bit unique right now. For the time being I have set aside the balisong in favor of two fixed blade knives. A small sharp one for the actual cutting and a large best of a knife for everything else.
Les in IRAK
Me on the right showing a knife I made to another Marine a few weeks ago in Iraq.

Do you flip balisongs ?

Yes, but not to well…

Could you give some advice to amateur or professional knife makers who want to start making balisongs ?

I have too much yet to learn to offer any sagely advice, I would say if they want to try it, go for it.

How do you think that the world of balisong will evolve in the future ?

I would like to see Balisongs become more acceptable to the main stream public and knife communities. Great strides in this direction have been made in that direction in the last few years, but there is still much progress yet to be made.

Thank you Les for taking the time to answer our questions. Last words before you leave ?

Thank you for asking me to contribute to this interview! I was as honored to hear that you wanted to see what I had to say as I am to say it. The Balisong community is a great one full of great people. I look forward to meeting and getting to know more of the people as time goes on.