Join Or Die Knives

Show Notes

This week on Southern Ground Hunting: We're pumped to have Brent Stubblefield from Join or Die Knives, along with James Moffit from Trailhead Creative on the show to chat a little bit about the history and trajectory of our newest partner, Join Or Die Knives. 

If you haven't heard of Join Or Die, you should definitely take a listen to this episode. If you're like Parker, you might not truly know what a "good" knife feels like after a lifetime of picking up Walmart specials or other cheap retail knives. He would tell you, without a doubt, there's a difference. Tune in to hear a little bit more about why Join Or Die is... different from your other run of the mill knives.

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Hey, thanks for tuning into this week's episode of the Southern Ground Hunting Podcast, where you're gonna hear a valuable hunting based conversation that's tailored for us southern folk. If you love what we do and would like to support Southern ground Hunting, you can visit Ground Hunting, or you can click on the link in the show notes below.

We'd love for you to join the Southern Ground Hunting community today. Again, that's Ground Hunting. You can also support us by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. It helps more than you know, and we greatly appreciate it. And now let's get to the show.

All right, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Southern Ground Hunting Podcast. I'm joined by Brent [00:01:00] Stubblefield and James Moffitt. So I'm gonna give you guys separate introductions though. So Brent is the owner. Uh, tell me your, tell me your exact title for Join or Die, Brent. Yeah, I'm the owner and the head janitor and, uh, all of the joiner die knives.

Yeah, all the hats. So you, you guys have probably heard us talking about, uh, join or die in the last month or so, and, um, have actually had the opportunity to use the knife on a Turkey hunt in Montana. Uh, freaking great stuff, man. And we're gonna talk a little bit about that today. Uh, in this podcast, talk about the company, talk about, you know, how it came to be.

But we're also here with, with James Moffitt, the, the owner of Trailhead Creative, who, if you follow me on Instagram, uh, I've been rocking this hoodie pretty strong, James. I've been, uh, been repping as hard as I can, and [00:02:00] what's really great is when I can wrap the hoodie and the joiner dye shirts at the same time.

Um, oh yeah, but. So, so what people may be, may be wondering is how, how, how do these two guys, like, how do these two guys come together on the same podcast? Why does that even make sense? Well, because I know Brent through James and, uh, so really appreciate that dude. So that's kind of what you do, right?

James? Like, you, you kind of do that for, um, people like Brent, kind of within the, the advertising space, I guess. Yeah, for sure. Um, so trailheads like the branding and content creation agency or content marketing agency. Um, so you know, like a lot of what we're focused on is like building communities and like helping the brands we work with, like get into communities that make sense for them to be in, in like an authentic way and.

Um, Brent Mags actually go back like way before that. I think I just started seeing his knives on like Instagram and stuff. And obviously [00:03:00] like just being someone that likes nice knives, I was like, okay, this is cool. I'm gonna give him a fallout. Um, that was, I think like around the time that he was kind of starting out too.

Um, and a couple of years into what he was doing, I actually had him right after my grandfather died. I had Brent make a custom knife for me, uh, with my grandfather's like. 25 year, or no, it was his retirement pin, um, from Roadway Trucking, um, that I got when he passed. Um, and took that to Brent and had Brent make me like a, like a custom knife with that pin, like laid into the handle, uh, which was super cool and something that he took on like no questions asked basically, and went straight to it, which was awesome.

Um, and we've just kind of stayed connected. Ever since through that and just through like both being kind of involved in the Maker community, uh, and then over the years, like as I've grown Trailhead and Brent's grown join or die, it's kind of changed into a [00:04:00] relationship where now I handle a lot of the marketing and stuff for Join or Die as well.

And, you know, try to work to help link 'em up with people like you. And like I said at the beginning, uh, help get 'em into some of those communities and, you know, position the knives where we can. So bring, you're a, you're a hunter, right? Like, I know you just showed me picture of your, your deer head and all that stuff.

Did, did hunting play a part in the, like kind of starting of join or die at all? Uh, yeah, I did. Um, I'm from South Alabama. I would go hunting with my dad and everything, but you know, when we didn't go hunting a ton, we did a lot more fishing. We were on the coast and mobile, and so it was just real normal, both inlands, uh, freshwater at the lake and just going out either in the Mobile bay or out in the Gulf, you know?

Um, And so I wasn't really more successful or more into hunting until I was a, you know, in my twenties. And, um, [00:05:00] I, uh, I spent years and years trying to kind of hunt and figure that out, um, with some, you know, without really any strong mentorship. Um, and then when I moved to Virginia, it was actually my father-in-law took me out, you know, on the back 40 there.

Um, and where I was able to get some real mentorship and, and really learn how to do this right. Um, and so, you know, it came a little later. Um, I'd like to say that I appreciate it more cuz it, it was a harder road for me than just getting put in the stand as a 10 year old and shooting a trophy buck kind of thing.

Um, and, you know, trying to find ways to go on public land and stuff and like, Uh, Illinois or Mississippi, other places that I've lived. Um, and it's striking out so much. Um, and in the same way with different hobbies that I tried when I used to kind of be like a contractor, I'd do to different things, wood work.

And, uh, I've been a musician for a long time and, uh, working on guitars and once I, like that knife, [00:06:00] brought everything together, the steel, the wood, the, the leather art, science. Traditional craft. I mean, it's just amazing. And then when I, you know, skin, you know, feel dressed and skinned, the first deer with a knife I made, I mean, I'm talking about just everything came together.

High emotions. This is the place where I need to be right here, you know, and that's kinda expressed in history, bro. That was an inspiring, like, uh, origin story. That was great. Um, And, and here's the thing, dude, like, uh, I've heard you say similar things, you know, in our, our initial conversations and, um, I kinda, I kind of knew your background and all that stuff, but the first thing that I think about whenever I think of knife companies are the, uh, the dudes, the like Middle Eastern guys that send you, or that troll all the Facebook groups.

And say, you [00:07:00] should buy my knife. Um, and so the first time James ever mentioned you to me, obviously there's a stereotype in my head, right, of like knife maker. Mm-hmm. Um, and so, but I, I trusted his advice, James, I believe what you said was he's cut from the same cloth as us. Uh, and by that like the musician, um, Scene kid, you know, grew up in the hardcore music scene, tattoos, stuff like that.

And so, you know, my, once I kind of know that background, then I start to see like the stuff on social media, like this is not, this is not like flea market knife stuff and don't want people to kind of get that out of their mind. When you hear knife maker, like this is like custom. Really high quality stuff.

Uh, obviously Brent, that seems [00:08:00] like it could be a real temptation as a craftsman to just produce like mass, right? Like cheaply make a bunch of stuff. You're really good at what you do, but I don't believe you do that, right? Like you put a lot of, a lot of sweat equity into each creation that you make.

That's correct. Um, yeah. Uh, so lot to address there, but I'll keep it short. Essentially. Yeah. We make everything by hand. The only thing that I don't do personally is if I'm doing a large batch of knives, I order the steel and I drive one block down the road and take it into the machine shop, uh, at reco and they shoot the knives out for me with their laser, um, cutting the outside.

Edges and the drilling the holes in that initial thing is just, there's really no artisan ship in that. All the good stuff is heat treat bevel, geometry, um, and you know, all that. And that, that's all in-house. So we do our own heat treating. I grind every single knife that comes out. Um, you know, each knife usually [00:09:00] touches three people touch it.

Um, and then I've got, you know, a college guy in here doing my sheaths. I want to grow this business and sell a lot more knives, but I'm not interested in changing the fundamental way that we make the knives. Um, I think that people, as long as they understand that an American company that's paying American prices and American wages is making something just down the road, they're, they get it.

And you know, they want that quality. And even the intangible of, you know, made in America, not the flea market thing. You know, there's a lot of great knife companies that are, um, that are making good knives out there that, that are made in America, but they're completely machine made and so they're able to get their prices down, things like that.

And, uh, those are still great knives, but they just do not have the touch that we have. Yeah, and that's like, just to kind of echo what Brent's saying is like why I love working with him and you know, so much of what Trailhead about is like [00:10:00] is working with brands that like stand behind their product and that invest into their product in that way and that are really like doing things.

The right way. You know, like, I feel like anymore from like a marketing perspective, it's so easy to just slap like a sick logo and some good social media behind just like a totally crap, like Chinese made product and j a bunch of people outta money and you know, like join or die is not that thing. Like I know that like Brent's hands are touching those knives.

I know that if there's. Even the most my imperfection from having taken like the knife class with the, like that, that knife not going out the door. Um, and I know that like what what you're getting from him is something that's like, you're gonna be able to hand it down to your, your son or your daughter one day, and it's gonna be exactly as good as it is when you have it.

You know, dude, and, and I've, I've touched five of the knives. They'll sent me five knives. [00:11:00] And I've used two of them. Um, but let me tell you about these knives, like what you said about passing them down. Like each one, they, they're solid, right? Like you just kind of have in your mind. I've never been a knife guy, right?

Like I've never been, I've always bought cheap knives from Walmart and used one of a year and then throw it out. You know what I mean? Uh, I've used, um, like the Avalon. Gerber skinning knives. Right, right. Like the replaceable blade knives. Mm-hmm. Um, and those have their, their their pros for sure, as far as they do SI and stuff.

You know, they're, they are what they are. Um, but they're not like your knife. Right. They're not the knife that's gonna get stuff done. And, uh, but each of these knives, it's like, you can feel the craftsmanship. You can see the craftsmanship. Like, it's almost perfect. Like, like, there's like no flaws. And dude, it, it's just a lot to appreciate in, in a knife.

And, [00:12:00] um, I, I wanna know about the name, this name, join or Die. Where did that come from? Well, a lot of people have seen the, uh, the logo with the snake on it. The snake that's cut up with the original 13 colonies on it. And that was, uh, printed in the Pennsylvania Gazette and 1754. It was done by Benjamin Franklin.

It's considered America's first political cartoon. And uh, essentially I like it because it's, Free. I don't know. It seems to predate the more divisive, um, political stuff, at least so far. Nobody's co-opted it for any kind of a modern thing. I know, unfortunately, you know, the, uh, people can't seem to leave those historical things, you know, for everyone.

And sometimes they'll grab something like the Tea Party, grab the, uh, the, um, Gas and flag, you know, which is don't tread on me and I get a little there, but you know, I just consider it a fundamental tenant of respect for people to be, [00:13:00] let them be able to judge the knives and not to put any kind of political stuff in their face.

And I know nowadays it's just people think they have, you know, a platform to do that. Through their company, but nobody cares what you think about politics, man. We just wanna see the product. Is it good? Is it not good? Don't throw that stuff at me. So for me, this is, this is more about the meaning of the, the historical context of the joiner di, the, the unity.

And, uh, and I lived in a commune in, uh, Chicago for seven years as a, as in it was an inner city mission. Um, and so we, you know, as a church that all lived in the same building. We ran homeless shelters and, and different music ministries and stuff there. And so when I say community, I mean something different than, like, a lot of people say like the music community around us.

You just mean all the people that like the same stuff. Uh, living in a community to me is. Means a lot [00:14:00] more. Um, from my back, my past experience, it's like where people come together and they don't just run off if there's a problem. Um, all our imperfections really create, um, you know, friction and we have a choice to either just say, ah, that guy, you know, got some of my nerves, get some of my nerves.

Or You're gonna do life together and you gotta figure that stuff out cause you have a mission together. And you know, like in a church mission setting, it's very clear, but also like, Whether it's a company, whether it's just a group of people that like, uh, like we have a company join or die. Knives, we wanna sell knives.

That's a mission. But we have the hardwood workshop, which is our knife vacant community where guys come and make knives here and our members. And the mission there is to really uplift everybody that comes in here, give 'em a home away from home, to have a good place to work. I mean, so many people work at places that they just hate.

And maybe the work is meaningless, but also because of that, people just, they're hopeless. They're just, they're bringing a lot of negativity into the environment and like, that's like, this world is not gonna change until like, we just, [00:15:00] you know, try to make, um, places, you know, that, that uplift people. And so for us here, it's like, it matters to us what it's like here when we work.

You know what I mean? Yeah. And when somebody's kinda. Getting some negativity coming in. We, we, we really try to address it and say, Hey guys, we, we, we make a lot of sacrifices to come here and make knives. It'd be a lot easier to go just work somewhere and make better money and stuff like that. Let somebody else worry about running a business.

Um, so we make these sacrifices. Won't we not suffer? Why don't we, you know, treating each other with, you know, the respect that we should and all that. And so all of that comes together. So like that joy or die in a word, actually could stand in for community. But it's a knife making company. We don't like, you know, knit sweaters, so we want it to sound tough, you know?

So it kinda comes all together in that. And then James, the connection with him is that he has that mindset. He has a community mindset making connections, his work with Beyond Boundaries and some of the [00:16:00] nonprofits in the area. Um, when, you know, when we started to think about doing that, we could tell that this was gonna be something that was gonna be a little bit bigger than just a, a business partnership.

Yeah, a hundred percent. I mean, I think Brent and I are kind of cut from the same cloth in a lot of ways in that sense, and like that's part of what Trailhead does too. You know, just more in like the creative community. Like I'm really trying to foster a collective where, you know, content creators and writers and photographers and videographers or whoever, like are able to come together and like share their talents to contribute to.

You know, each other and growing their businesses, and also to contribute to the greater good. So we donate on average like 30% of our work a year to nonprofits, um, just to help our community. So be that like a group, like Beyond Boundaries or, uh, you know, a conservation organization or whatever it is, like it's important to us that we're involved in things that.

Uh, we want to be involved with just because they matter and just because they're like, they're helping people or they're [00:17:00] helping things that we care about. Um, and, you know, we're not necessarily focused on making a buck off of 'em as much as we are and just like advancing those causes. Um, and I'm pretty determined to bring like other creatives into that, or, you know, marketers or whatever, uh, to use those skill sets just to, to do something that's that's positive and that helps.

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Whether you're looking for a new knife for the field or the perfect everyday carry, you've gotta check out, join or Die Knives from Richmond, Virginia, join or die as a small shop and a custom knife maker dedicated to creating handmade knives that are cut above the rest. They make custom handmade knives to fit any need from the field to kitchen or just an everyday carry, and they come in several different steal and finish options.

They've also got a ton of options for the handle as well. Plus, if you don't see something you like, you can always order a completely custom knife forged to your exact specs. I highly recommend you check 'em out. Get yours at join or die and use the code SG hunt to save 10%. That's all uppercase.

All one word. S G H. You nt. Well, so you [00:19:00] guys, James, you specifically just there, just right then teed me up. If I were able to announce what I talked to you about the other day, if I were able to share that with anybody, yet you teed, you teed me up, but I can't, so yeah, we can't talk about that. I. Yeah, I'm anxiously away from it.

So everybody listen to this now knows that everybody knows that there's something, something is gonna happen, something exciting, and the next couple months is happening right here. And, uh, and you guys are gonna be a part of it. And, um, here's the coolest thing. Like, so one of the things that we, we've been trying to figure out here in the last, I don't know, uh, year or so, is how to.

Um, capitalize on that. And so that's a huge part of what I'm talking about with community, um, community building and essentially community building [00:20:00] within our region, um, uh, of hunters. You know, like there is an obvious difference, uh, between the culture of hunting in southern states versus Midwestern and Northern and, uh, and for so long, you know, southern guys have been underrepresented.

In a lot of ways, um, just because the hunting down here is different, it's harder, it's different, you know, there's, there's things about it. And so, uh, not to give any way, give away too many more teasers, but that's gonna have a lot to do with, uh, what we're doing with our Patreon and, um, you know, really focusing on building a community.

And so whenever, in our first conversation you guys were talking about that, uh, basically everything you just mentioned mm-hmm. About. Having in creating this community. It was, for me, it was a no-brainer. Like, let's, let's get in with this. And, and even before that, James, our conversation, um, before any type of [00:21:00] partnership with Join or Die, our conversation, just me and you chatting, uh, I could obviously tell that there was, um, kind of that push behind what you're doing and so I'm always gonna be on board when, when we're talking about that kind of stuff.

I easily get on board with community building. Yeah. Oh yeah, man. A hundred percent. And that's like what drew me to you in the first place is like a, I was like, oh, hey, here's like another guy in the space that's tattooed and kind of has like a little bit more of like a different perspective on some of this stuff overall.

And then B, like you were saying, just seeing like the representation of like the kind of terrain that we hunt in and like the kind of deer that we hunt, and the fact that like not everything is like Iowa or. You know, mountains in Montana and stuff like that. I mean, those places are amazing and it's beautiful and it's obviously like I would kill somebody to hunt there probably, but it's also like not my day-to-day reality.

Um, so, you [00:22:00] know, I love like seeing what you guys are doing and just seeing stuff that's a little more real to like the types of places that I hunt, which is awesome. Um, you know, like I'm, we connected because of that. And you know, I think that, What you guys are doing as far as like building a community from more hunters in this region is awesome.

And the focus on accessibility is awesome. You know, cause like hunting is one of those things that uh, like all of us are really lucky to be able to do. Like, there's, there's a amount of like privilege to some of that cuz it takes time. It, it can cost a ton of money if you let it and you know, it's, uh, and you have to have places to do it and transportation to get to those places and.

You know, all those types of things. And so it's everybody's lucky to be able to do it. And I think like fostering a sense, like making that community like as welcome as possible and as inclusive as possible, and creating opportunities for people to get into it is huge. Absolutely huge. Absolutely. [00:23:00] Well, I wanna talk about, I wanna talk about some product stuff.

I wanna talk about maybe some of your offerings, um, with, uh, with Joiner D Knives. I've gotten to use several of, of the knives. I've used the, uh, rim fire field mate, uh, or field, field mate, rim fire, whichever order it goes in. Um, by far it was the one I chose and I like it. I love it. Um, but then I also used, I think y'all just announced what you were gonna name it, the sn, um, and dude, I'm just.

I know I said it a while ago. It's just feels different. It's just, it, it's just different than, than skin in a, an animal with a Walmart knife or even, even some of the, the, some of the, like the surgical steel removal blade Avalon knives, like those are supposed to be [00:24:00] super sharp. This thing from the freaking factory is just like razor sharp.

Absolutely. And it, and then what I, from what I've seen, it maintains its edge. So I wanna know a little bit about your process and how you, um, how you ensure that each knife comes from the factory ready to freaking go. Yeah. Well, uh, the truth is that we stand there at the, at the, uh, machine with the, with the final stat was the be leather strap.

With a piece of paper, making sure that it slides easily through the piece of paper, you know, so, you know, we sharpen it. It's me or actually my brother-in-law Jack, are the only two that sharpen. Um, so we, we don't even let anybody sharpen 'em unless they're like, you know, gotten a lot of practice. But, and we don't sharpen on stones here in the shop cause we make enough knives where we really need to use our, our machines.

But we have, um, speed control, so we get really slow so we don't over repeat things. But I'm gonna. Sar, it's really [00:25:00] about the geometry of the entire knife, not just the edge. So one of the reasons that those, um, those replaceable blades and even just like a, um, like a utility blade for a, um, for construction is so thin is because the thinner it is, the lower the angle can be in the sharper rate can be, you know what I mean?

Um, and so we have our, our overall geometry. I have a thick blade to start with, but I try to grind that bevel down so that it. It comes to a very thin edge. Oftentimes as I'm grinding them, they actually will get sharp and I'll have to kind of un sharpen them before the end of the process, but I have to get 'em down so that they're thin enough to really be nice and sharp, but, Everything's a compromise with the knife, the hardness, toughness, the, the thinness to get really nice and sharp, but the thickness to have the durability and the robustness.

Um, and I've just learned that I was pretty much for a long time making 'em too thick. But if you get the right heat treat and the right steel, you [00:26:00] can bring those knives down thin and they're gonna perform really well. And when they're more thin coming down to that cutting edge, you're gonna have to remove less material in the future to make it sharp.

Rather than sitting there grinding away at it. And the worst thing that you could do to a knife is take it to like a, a grinder wheel in your shop or something, because you're just gonna, I mean, I've got guys that, that come to bring knives to me that are, they're like a toothpick in a few years, and it's because of the way they're just grinding so much steel off when they were, you know what I mean?

Yes. And knife can last for decades without getting that small, as long as people understand. You know how to, how to kind of keep that edge pretty sharp rather than let it get just completely blunt and then having to completely re grind it. So our steel type, you know, uh, we, we very carefully select that our heat treat, um, we do a lot of experimentation on the heat treat, uh, in-house to get it where we want it.

And then, you know, just being really careful about how they come together. I mean, I really appreciate you talking about. You know, it just [00:27:00] feels so good to, to hear that they work good. Cuz you know, you make 'em, you make 'em, you make 'em, and then you think, man, there's a lot of these knives out there. I hope they're working for people.

I don't know. You know, so we, um, I've learned the most out of making knives and just sticking 'em in my own pocket and then kind of being a little hard on 'em, you know, to try to see if I can mess him up. So, Yeah, and I gotta say real quick, just to like let the inner marketing guy and me out real fast.

Um, we are doing like a ton of new video content for Join or Die. So speaking of sharpening and edges and all that type of stuff, uh, we actually just released like a pretty great super in depth in. Uh, video on how to sharpen a knife. Um, so if you check out, join or Dies the YouTube channel, you can see Brent go through a pretty in-depth discussion on like how to sharpen and maintain an edge on the knife.

So mm-hmm. And, and I would, I would absolutely suggest anybody curious? Um, I, I feel like, and maybe [00:28:00] this is a testament to you, James, I don't know who, who's actually running that social media, but it's. Rock solid, and I feel like it gives you, um, a really good look about what the company is about, right?

Mm-hmm. And so you can kind of see the artistry and like, like you can see the craftsmanship through social media really, really well. It highlights, highlights what y'all do really, really well. Um, I appreciate it. So, I don't know, I don't know, uh, exactly how to ask this next question, but, Um, I know you guys offer a lot of things, but one of the, one of the things we talk about, even in the ad, even in our ad read, is the, um, custom knives.

When you say custom, Brent, what does that mean? Like, does it mean a guy can just show up and say, Hey, I want a knife, here's exactly what I want. Or is there a, is there like kind of a, a process, a step by step that you do? How does that work? Yes. Um, so when we say custom, um, we really [00:29:00] mean, um, A made to order knife where the customer specs the knife.

Um, you know, generally the knife, the knives that you received are knives that I've designed that are, that are our production knives. They're still handmade knives and everything, but, um, I would say a custom knife would be anything from, I like the field mate, but I want, um, you know, this very specific kind of handle.

Can you do that for me? I'd like to bring in some antler from my book. Can you do that? Yeah. Things like that. And then some people, I do a sketch for them based on a combination of things that they want and they sign off on, you know, a handmade sketch and then I have to go figure out how to forge that.

Or somebody might say, I really like your bushcraft knife, but I kind of feel like the A blade needs to be like another inch long. I'd like it in this very specific Damascus pattern. Can you make that? Um, you know what I mean? And so like we, yeah, it's worn. And then another thing I would say on that custom [00:30:00] level is just like, I might go over into the forge one day and make a hunter, like I've got a hunter right now that's a ladder pattern.

Damascus stainless bolster with mammoth ivory scales on it. That's a custom that I decided to make essentially and sell. Nobody told me to do it, but there's only one like it in the world. So I'd call that custom too. Um, so, you know, we do everything in between, really all the way up to reproduction. I've done, you know, medieval long swords, uh, more so I've done sabers from the revolution in the Civil War.

Um, right now I'm doing about a 16 inch, um, mini sword. It's a scaled down version of a 1850s naval cut list, um, to cut a wedding cake. And that's, uh, freaking cool. That's because the, the, the guy's a Navy Seal, so we're doing the Navy thing, and, and they're, they're having a real cool Damascus, you know, with a full like pardy looking, you know, full basket guard on it kind of deal.

Um, [00:31:00] so it's like we have people order those big sets of like groomsmen, uh, sets and things like that. Um, it's real fun to be able like, like, like how I met James, just like being able to. Make a piece that you know is gonna be special for a long time is incredible. And I'll say, um, one of the other things that made me really get into this knife making thing was that I did cut my second son's umbilical cord with the knife I made before I was real serious.

But once I cut that cord with that knife I made, I knew that we would cherish that in our family forever. And so it's something about knives, you know, I mean, think about other things and, and there's some things that'll do it, but knives are. Have this, this thing, like a lot of people can say they've got that, something like that in their family when it comes to knives.

Yeah, man. And I'll just say like, being down at the shop as often as I am, like taking pictures of knives and just like learning more about the process and stuff just to help with the marketing and social media and whatnot. Like, [00:32:00] uh, custom really, like Brent was saying, like kind of doesn't mean custom.

Like the stuff that I've seen come out of that shop at any given time is just like, it's, you know, stuff I never would've dreamed up. So there really is like, I mean, I'm not gonna speak for him and say there's no, there's nothing that can't be done. But like a lot of the stuff that they do is like pretty, pretty frequently incredible.

But like as you're talking, I'm thinking of ideas for, for customized, like, okay, could I today get like, could I get my bone in like placed in epoxy to give to my child after I die? Like just all kinds of custom. Yeah, we have. Yeah, I don't wanna go a slippery slope. We have, we have messed with some human remains here and there, so.

I don't care, man. I'm not weird about it. I mean, it's like, you know, well first, you know, when you cut up, here you go. Yeah. I mean, we're, that's basically like, we're like that too. I mean, it's all basically, you know, flesh and bones. So as long as it's, you know, [00:33:00] on the level, I don't care. That is, uh, that was mostly joking, but I guess if, listen, if you want, if you want something like that, then join, join or, or die.

Yeah, join. Yeah, we, uh, I mean, I'll, like somebody might, we could cast like ashes in a resin or something that's a lot more sentimental than it's weird, you know? Yeah, for sure. So, um, no, I mean that, that perfectly answers the custom question though. I mean, like, can you do custom? I'd say that's like pretty dang custom.

Um, and so, but, but going back to, uh, you know, I, I know just through following you guys. I didn't realize at first that you built, that you, that you created like, um, culinary knives as well, so like, um, and some actual like, beautiful pieces of work, like really, really nice pieces of work. [00:34:00] I'm interested to know from you, um, what was the first style of knife that you created, right?

Like, what was the first, what was the thing that sparked it? Um, and I'm assuming it's not an umbilical cord knife. I don't even know if there's a specific knife for that. Yeah. Um, what was the first one? What was the thing that sparked it all? Like, I know you've created a whole bunch of different types.

Yeah. What was the one that did it? Yeah, definitely the hunter. Um, there's actually, I, I made a few knives and the, and the design was terrible and it wasn't until I sat down and started to draw knives that I could go, okay, what do I like? What do I don't like? I went to drawer. And I got my Gerber Tang knife that I had forever, that I skin deer with.

And I got a custom that my father-in-law had given me. I just pulled whatever out. Oh, uh, the moura, uh, the Moura knife. You know what I'm talking about This? $10 Swedish knives. Yeah. Love those. I just laid 'em out, traced [00:35:00] 'em, and started to kind of combine features. And I just came out with this sort of like three and a half inch blade, brass guard kind of hunter.

Pretty simple. And, um, I had been making knives here and there. I'd bring them in my lot. I, my wife would say like, that's nice, honey. And then it wasn't until I really designed the knife, I put some extra detail in it, went out to the shed when I got it done and brought it in. And she said, Wait a minute, you made this like in surprise.

I knew that I was really onto something cuz you know, she's, she, she's, she knows me. She's not real impressed by every little thing I do. And so, you know, to have her be impressed by it, I knew I was onto something And so, um, it was a hunter and I was really making just this like a couple styles of hunter for a long time.

And the field mate is the derivation of a lot of those different shapes and sizes trying different things. And essentially letting the customer decide. And, you know, um, we talk [00:36:00] about around the shop, the customer is always right, is a true statement. It just doesn't mean what people think it means. It doesn't mean that a customer is correct when they're being a jerk.

What it does mean is that the customers will tell you what you're doing right with, with their wallets. Essentially as I would make a knife and put it out on the table. Somebody'd buy that one. They wouldn't buy that one. So I'd make another one of the, so make another, make another. Oh, it needs to be a little smaller.

Okay. Maybe it, okay, that's too small. Go back. Go back. And eventually we, we came to this knife that some people, when they look at the table, they go, that's a little dinky. It's not that big. And you hold it in your hand and you go, what? I can't quite get my whole knit around the handle, like if I was holding a baseball bat, you know?

And then you get it out there in the field and you start using it and you go, oh, this is perfect. I'm choked up a little bit. I'm not carrying any more weight than I need to, or clunky size. The, uh, my fit, my pointer finger goes right to the, the point of the, the [00:37:00] knife. It's just, just right for field dressing, skinning, cutting up boxes.

Cutting your cheese and apples, you know, whatever. It's just that everyday thing. And I feel like that it went from this thing that I thought it should be to what it is now, based on the feedback that I got and me being able to sit back and just listen to the feedback I was getting from everybody. So, so most of the, most of the designs that we have are actually the wisdom of all of, you know, a lot of people, not just.

All given their input, whether they're actually telling me what they think or they're voting with their, with their wallets and kinda getting me in the right zone to make the, the knifes. Right. Is there, is there anywhere, like, do you sell knives anywhere other than online? Like can, is there any retail stores or anything like that that, um, sell your stuff or is everything just online based?

Everything's online right now. We do some shows here and there. I just got back from [00:38:00] Blade Show in Atlanta and I do some different things. Um, but, uh, and then there's um, just a couple little retail spots. Um, uh, one's at like, you know, Rhode Island and, um, but I'm actually kind of working right now with a wholesale rep.

Um, and we're gonna try to be running them in some more stores. You know, I've kind of cranked up the amount of guys that I have and the ability to make the knives and so, We, we feel like that we can, we can keep this pace up all year instead of having like a very seasonal feaster famine. I think we could get a lot more knives outta here at the quality we're at now.

And so we just need to get them in stores and stuff. So that's kind of coming, I hope soon. But like I say, we've got another member kind of coming on as a freelance part of the team. Um, uh, and Zach Moore with Apex Solutions, and hopefully we'll get in some. Some, you know, outdoor store, maybe even some tactical type stuff.

And, um, you know, whoever wants to carry 'em, we do wholesale for sure. Yeah, that [00:39:00] is, it's just, it's so cool to, to meet somebody who's passionate about a craft. Right. Um, and that's the thing that I see when I hear you talk, uh, I mean like, I felt like I asked you some pretty vague questions and to get their responses into how passionate you are about.

Just the craftsmanship of the knife. And, uh, and I, I love that it's kind of rooted in that special moment with cutting your son's umbilical cord. Like that's, to me, like those are the things that separate, separate companies, like as far as motive, I guess. Um, your motive being like to create something special for other people, right?

Mm-hmm. Like that. Because at the end of the day, at, at least for me, dude, and, and, um, I know you guys are both hunters. When I kill a deer or, or any animal, really any animal that I intend to eat and I cut it like that [00:40:00] is a special, I remember those. You know what I mean? Mm-hmm. Like, uh, my son that, it's kind of funny.

My son, he's three years old, and the first thing he asked after I shoot an animal, he's like, daddy, we cut it. Because for him, that was kind of where, that was where I brought him into the. Into the, the hunting scene with me because he couldn't go hunt with me, right? Mm-hmm. Like I couldn't take him out there at two, at one and two years old, but he could help me process the animal, right?

He could help me clean the animal. Uh, and so there is a special part of a knife, like, and I think even that hunters can, can absolutely, I mean, take my son outta the equation still, like I remember every single one, every single animal that I've harvested. Just, I, I don't even like the word harvested, but I'm gonna say it in this regard.

Um, every single animal that I've harvested has been special. And so every tool that I've used to, to make that [00:41:00] whole thing come together is, is special. Does that make sense? You know what I'm saying? Oh, yeah. Like, like there, there's a. There's an element to it all that, that I think you capture and, and I'm here for it.

I love it. That's awesome. I agree with the harvest. It's a little tricky. I, I, I, I appreciate the idea of, of bringing like a, a term that shows how special it is when you have a successful hunt, but obviously harvest. Really what indicate that you, you cultivated that yourself. Right. Um, but you know, maybe like every animal that I've successfully hunted might be Yeah.

You know, because hunting is, you know, same with fishing. That's why they call it fishing. That's why they call it hunting. Most of the time. We don't do, we don't get anything. Um, that's why it's special. But, and same thing with me, with my right. Yeah. My boys, I have three boys and I brought 'em all in on the processing side, and it's incredible how much they like to do it.

All of 'em, they're different. But they all like to be involved in that process and to give them a, trust them with that blade when they're a kid and say, yeah, and yeah, you may [00:42:00] cut yourself, but you'll heal up and, uh, let 'em get, and they love skin in them out if they can, if they're big enough. But even if they're younger, they can help, you know, cut away, you know, the silver skin and stuff or the grind meat and uh, things like that.

And, um, I've, my. Let's see. So I, I usually start taking 'em instead, or a like squirrel hunting with me. And again, my whole feeling about that is to get 'em on small game and then let 'em work their way up to Deere, uh, and then. Uh, so, but man, they love their feeling that they get when they, when they successfully hunt a squirrel and then, you know, bring it home.

And we either do like a crockpot thing or make squirrel buffalo wings or whatever they love, you know, they love that. Now we do have chickens and stuff and like, we just ate a rooster last week and so, That's, you know, whe whether it's connection to the craftsmanship or making a knife and knowing where it comes from, but also the connection to your food and having your children understand that something has to die when you eat meat.

And then [00:43:00] really bring it into their face and have 'em be a part of the processing of that, acquiring of the food. You know, I'd like to say the knife thing is special and it is, but man, uh, putting that into another human being's, you know, heart. That's something that's special to them that they're gonna have with them the rest of their life, you know, is a real privilege.

I mean, everything that we get to do raising our kids is a privilege. So, but that's like, and even hunting too, talk about these days. But man, You know, being able to hunt, being able to connect with other people that can teach us about it. Those of us that have just a private land, forget about that. I mean, that's unbelievable.

Um, and then even the public land access that we have in America and hunting, seen that, that we have been, it's been like bestowed on us by the people. In American history by the north, by the, you know, to, to get the North American model of, you know, conservation. Like, look at us. We're, we're, we're, we have responsibility to, to bring that into the [00:44:00] future.

Big time. Yeah. Hundred percent. That's like one of the things I love so much about hunting is just like being so intentional. About everything that you're doing. You know, like making the decision to like pull that trigger or like hit your release or whatever it is and just, you know, everything that goes into it when you're taking animal's life and like, I'm an adult onset hunter, so like every deer that I've cleaned has been with my rimfire field mate actually.

And like, um, I did that on purpose cuz I like, as I was getting into it and like starting being successful after like four years of like not seeing a single deer, I don't think, um, like that was something where, Like I knew when I started that and like how special I wanted it to be. And like, I, like I chose the field mate as like, you know, this is something that I'm gonna start using now.

So by the time that I do hand it down to my kid, it's gonna have like these layers of story and just like history [00:45:00] and blood on it from, from all the successful hunts that I've had. And so that's like, Hunting does that, like, I think few things do really as, as, as far as like forcing intentionality and like forcing you to like pay the hell attention to what you're doing and kind of be in that versus, you know, staring at your phone at the same time, dude.

Yeah, absolutely. I've, and I've, uh, I've, I've noticed the same, the same things, you know, um, the things, it's almost like my son sometimes. And my daughter, they're the ones who kind of decide what are the special things, you know what I mean? Like, um, like kind of my son chose that that skinning time was gonna be the special time because he liked it.

You know, he's all boys, so he is like blood goods. Like he loves it all. He loves every part of it, but I'm able to teach him a whole lot because of his interest in it. I'm able to teach him a whole lot. And so for us, you know, that that knife's [00:46:00] gonna be a very special, a very special thing. Um, so just because he, he's the one who decided that like, that knife is gonna have some sentimental value.

And I'm a, I'm a pretty sentimental person already. Um, like I'm kind of in that age right now where I'm 30, 32 years old, got a young family, and I'm thinking about the things that, like, you know, one day that I want my dad to pass on to me, right? And so, and so now that I'm thinking about that, you know, I'm also thinking like, what are the things that I, that I wanna pass on?

My son and it, and it's things that are, that are special, right? And it's gotta be things that are quality because you want it to last that long. Um, I know a lot of people purchased the, the Mr. Fox Fest, um, right before Turkey season that, uh, mossy Oak put out. They purchased that for a pretty good chunk of money.

Um, but it's built like a tank and it's gonna last a long time and it's gonna last for generations in their family. And so like you kind of get to that age where you're, you're trying to figure out those things. And, and you [00:47:00] guys, you know, if, if I wasn't a believer already in, uh, in the things that you have, uh, built and talked about, like now at this point, after talking to you for as long as I had today, like, I'm all, I, I'm there, right?

Like y'all put the time, you put the effort, you create something from, it maybe almost sounds a little bit feminine, but you create something from your heart, right? Like you, you create something from. Like that. You want to be special? I think it's cool, man. I think it's so cool. Nah man, I don't think there's, uh, anything more fundamental to what it means to be a man than, you know, having the, that, that heart, you know what I mean?

And, uh, I agree. I, I, you know, I laugh at the term toxic masculinity cuz I'm like, there's no such thing. You're, you're a man, you're not like that. Yeah. Yeah. So it's just masculinity and not masculine. Um, but you know that masculinity is self-sacrificing and, uh, But yeah, I mean, I, there's a lot [00:48:00] of knife companies out there.

Um, there's a lot of handmade knives out there, and so, you know, we really appreciate you just kind of giving us a look because it is, it is like, there's just, there's a lot of noise out there when it comes to, um, every kind of brand. I just, like, I'm getting to the age too, where I just want to have stuff that I don't have to keep going around looking for it.

I wanna be bought in and excited to use the thing. Um, and a lot of that is gonna come in those intangibles. Um, you know, just the information that you're gonna have about like, is it made in the usa? Um, what are the, are these people you know, actually out in the outdoors too? Or are they just kind of marketing to the outdoors because they think they can get a little chunk of that, you know, mark, you know, whatever that, that chunk of that pie.

So, um, we just wanna be able to, you know, like you talked about hearts, just like share a little bit of our heart before this. It's a knife. Yeah, whatever. But, um, but like we come along with it. Another thing is we're just a, you know, even though we're [00:49:00] hopefully gonna be producing more knives, we're always gonna be a small shop comparably.

And, you know, we got the lifetime guarantee, we got the, even the sharpening people sending in sharpening for free. I wanna hear from people, I wanna see the knives after they've been used. So that's another thing of literally having a relationship cuz we're small enough to where. Um, you know, people could call stuff or get us on an email, um, you know, or come by the shop.

That's awesome, man. That's great. Well, we've been talking for a little bit and uh, I wanna respect you guys' time. Um, so tell us real quick, just, uh, I guess, James, tell us real quick where people can follow up with you. Um, you know, I think. What you have to offer as far as, uh, this, this creative building creative community, uh, other people listen to this could definitely benefit from it.

So, uh, tell us where we can learn a little bit more about you and what you do. Trailhead. Yeah, man. [00:50:00] Um, I think the best place to probably find us is at Trailhead Creative on Instagram. Perfect. Awesome. Great stuff. You guys produce some really high quality content. Brent, tell us where we can, uh, I, I'm assuming there's gonna be several people who wanna learn more about, uh, join or Die.

Where can people find some more stuff out? Yeah, it's, uh, Join our die and, uh, join our die knives at, uh, Instagram and Facebook where we're starting to kind of try to do more on the YouTube because, you know, uh, we want the information out there like that. Whatever we can give, whether it's sharpening.

Um, I just wanna like, Be a resource for kind of the casual, you know, person that's curious to like find out like the difference between high carbon, stainless steel and, and heat trees. Yeah. All those things that are important in the knife world. I think that most dudes that use 'em never really thought about 'em, but they're gonna probably.

You know, once they start to kind of go down [00:51:00] that rabbit hole, find it pretty interesting. So we wanna be able to provide, um, all the information about, you know, all what we put into it. That's awesome. Great stuff you guys. Thanks for coming on. And, uh, yeah, if you. If y'all are interested in join or die knives, definitely go check 'em out on social media.

Check out the website. Uh, send me questions, personal questions. I'll have used, I've used these knives for, for this trip and, uh, plan on using 'em all fall. So, uh, plan to see more about join or die coming from us. Fellas, thanks for coming. Amen. Thank you. Hey guys. Thanks for listening to this week's episode of the Southern Ground Hunting Podcast.

You can keep up with Southern Ground hunting by following us on Facebook or Instagram or subscribing to the YouTube channel, and you can be sure to check us to pick up some of our merch, read some blog articles, and all that good stuff. I truly hope you enjoyed this week's episode, and we'll see you here again next week.[00:52:00]

Remember that God gave you dominion over the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and the beasts of the earth. So go out and exercise that dominion. We'll talk to you next week.