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 time 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 collector pieces.

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.

His 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.


Rade Hawkins
1938 - 2014

In Memoriam
Rade wanted to thank the two people who meant everything to him. His lovely wife June, whom he loved dearly. And his son Rusty, who was the "light of my life!"

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