I can hardly believe it. Saturday one of my oldest friends passed away. This is really getting to be a bad habit. He was my life-long mentor, spiritual guide, a father figure, my abbot and friend. I had known him 60 years. He was the bagpiper at our wedding in 1970 and at my father's funeral. He married my daughter and her husband. I spent decades under his tutelage. He was 87 years old. Most of his life he taught high school Arts and Humanities and he was an accomplished artist, wood carver, and author. The ancient Scottish Highland traditions ran through his veins. He spoke several languages including Gaelic and was a true Renaissance man. I shall miss him. I hope he is in the Highlands playing his pipes and walking the moors. The photo is one I took this spring in Glen Finnan.
I hate it when the only news I have is bad news. My good friend, and knifemaker, Gary Bradburn (right in photo) has passed away. We met years ago as I was shopping for a quality tanto. Gary made some of the finest Shobu style tanto I ever saw. I am pleased to own several of them, purchased over the many years I knew him. His hamon were spectacular when other people were just starting to get a feel for them. One of the most incredible cuts i ever made was with a large Shobu he called a Hogosha. Gary was a big man, in stature and heart. He helped many an aspiring student to learn the art of knife making. I only met Gary one time in person but we kept up a running train of emails for a dozen years. We debated guns, religion, politics and edged weapons of all kinds. We shared photos, ideas, and tough topics like illness and death. We did not always agree but we always respected each others opinion and sometimes apologized for stepping over the line.
Gary was extremely proud of his knife work and his time as a Marine. He still owes me a small Vest Bowie and I'm holding him to it. I'm also hoping he sneaks his anvil and forge into where ever he has relocated. If he's like me, the fire will be provided. If I were to chose a man to stand beside me in a fight to the death, Gary would have been at the top of a very short list. Damn I'll miss his caustic wit and fast retort. He was a patriot and a friend, God knows we need more Gary Bradburns in this world, not less. Some of Gary's tanto.
You can find out more about me on the "Stories" pages. My hobbies have included training in Japanese martial arts, Kenjutsu, many forms of knife fighting, long range rifles and tactical firearms. I have written several self published books on muzzle-loading firearms, knife-fighting and gas engines and compressors. I am working diligently on my 400+ page F-S book.