Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
Eudora resident Dick Brown handled big equipment for a living for many years. He began working as a crane operator at the Hercules Ammunition Plant just east of Eudora in 1969. He officially retired in 2011, but retirement hasn’t slowed Brown, 69, down much. Now he’s handling something much smaller—handcrafted hunting knives.
Though Brown has been making knives for 40 years, he never had the time to fully dedicate himself to the craft until he retired. As the creator of Brown’s Custom Knives, he has made hundreds of unique and beautiful knives. Everything he uses in them starts out as something else. The blades were once old buzz saw blades. The handles were formerly brass objects, hardwood trees such as burr oak and hedge, or the horns of all kinds of animals—deer, cattle, elk, even impala.
While he does not have much money tied up in the knives, he invests a great deal of time and creativity in each one. He hand cuts the blades and spends hours creating, sanding and polishing the handles. He even makes his own sheaths so that they fit the knives perfectly. While you could easily find a cheaper knife for hunting or fishing at a sporting goods store, you’ll never find one as original as one of Brown’s.
“It takes a long time to make one,” said Brown. “When I make one, there’s not another one in the world like it.”
He enjoys the work, and says it’s a great cold weather project for a guy who likes to stay busy.
“And it keeps him out of my hair,” quipped his wife Kathleen.
Brown sells his knives at various shows and to hunters all over the country. He donates some to Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited and other wildlife organizations for their auctions. One of his knives fetched $300 at an auction.
Because Brown has always been an avid hunter and outdoorsman himself, he and a partner, Tony Adams, began just this year leading deer and turkey hunts at the old Hercules Ammunition Plant.
“It’s a gold mine out there with all the deer and turkey,” Brown said.
Thus, the business of guided hunts was born. They have had hunters from Texas, New Mexico, Florida and Mississippi already and there is a lot of hunting season ahead. KC Chiefs linebacker Frank Zombo has come out to hunt.
Between the guided hunts and the knife crafting, Brown proves that you don’t have to slow down when you retire. I saw a lot of beautiful knives displayed in a case and I heard interesting hunting stories, but I didn’t see a rocking chair in the lovely home he and Kathleen share on the west edge of Eudora. Staying active and sharp seems to be the name of the game for Brown.
For more information about the knives or the guided hunts, you can reach Brown at 785-542-3127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.