Bob offers two classes of knives: One-off customs that follows a style/pattern, and his "Regulars".
The One-offs could be fashioned in any way, often determined by the customer who placed the order. And in the early to middle part of his career, most of the knives he made would fit into this category. These include Hunters, Skinners, Large Tanto's, Fighters, and his Armour Piercing Dagger (including the Americanize Tanto variant). This is also where Bob exercised his creativity with his tantos. They would come in any size, with multitudes of details and finishes.
His "Regular" offerings were his "Bread and Butter" models. In the later stage of his career, the naming scheme would apply more to his Folders than his Fixed Blades. Of his Fixed Blade offerings, he had a few models; Tanto, Stalker, Chinese Fighter, and Sabertip Fighter. Of his Folders they were many, among them; Chinese Folder, Folding Tanto, Folding Stalker, Folding Skinner, Folding Dagger, All-Rounder, Folding Tanto II, Forester, Two Bladed Folder, and others.
What differentiates his models are the handle treatments. Bob's low end models were always the Field Grade ones. These usually were handled with Micarta, G10 or Carbon Fiber, and in plain Titanium for his Folders. The other range is the Deluxe models. These will include wood and other natural materials for handles (the most popular choice being Stag), and would very often have bolster treatment(s).
Regular models have one additional variation: they come in several sizes. Small, Medium, and Large. For Fixed Blades, Small came with a 3" blade; Medium with a 4" Blade; and Large with a 5" Blade. For Folders, Small came with a 2" Blade; Medium, a 3" blade; Large, a 4" Blade. Some Folders also came in an XL size with a 5" Blade.
Hopefully this has helped demystify Bob's offerings. If not, and you have one of Bob's knives that you're not sure which model it is, I would be more than happy to help you sort it out. Just email me some pictures of the knife.
#7, #8, and #9 (Top to bottom):
#7: is an Ivory Handled Miniature Grandmaster Darn Dao. Blade length is 3.5", OAL of 5.5".
#8: is an African Blackwood Handled Miniature Grandmaster Darn Dao. Blade length is 3.5", OAL of 5.5".
#9: is a African Blackwood Handled Miniature Tanto. Blade length is 2.25", OAL of 4".
Unfortunately, Bob did not enjoy making these, as they took the same amount of effort as a full size model. Which may explains why he made so few. It may also explain why he tends to charge near full price for them. :-)
In 1983, KenWarner started his Wooden Sword Award in recognition of deserving knife makers. In the first year, he award Bob Lum the award for his introduction of the tanto style knife. Quoting from the article (pertaining to Bob):
"... the third defined a trend, perhaps a change."
" Lum tantos have, over the past two years at least, caught the consciousness of other knifemakers, and you may look to a lot of tantos in the next few years."
"The Wooden swords point at knives you could own, knives well worth owning."
Knives well worth owning. Words I took to heart. And when Bob finally showed up at the New York Custom Knife Show in 1986, I took the time out to meet him. I needed to see for myself that there was indeed someone of Asian decent doing well in the custom knife market. We spoke for a while and I placed my order for one of his Large Field Grade Stalkers, to be delivered when completed. Little did Bob, or I, know what that one meeting would turn out into.
Thanks to Jim Cooper for sending me this scan.
#1 & #2:
This set of Stag Handled are my favorite of the daggers.
#1: The large one was delivered to me as a companion piece to a similar sized Deluxe Stag Handled American Tanto (it's the one seen right below in in the top picture by Jim Cooper). I asked Bob to make it with Double SS bolsters in the lines of an Medieval styled dagger. The front bolsters are flared for the thumb and forefinger control, while the rear bolster acts as a counterbalance. The blade length is 9", OAL is 13.5".
#2: The smaller one is more representative of Bob's Deluxe Dagger offerings, with a single large front bolster. This one has an 8" blade, OAL is 12".
The website also showcased Bob's skill as a photographer with all the pictures on the website taken by him.
A huge thank you to Mr. Sal Glesser, CEO of Spyderco Knives for sending me these photos, and allowing me to share them here.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the First Baptist Church of Springfield for Robert Wayne “Bob” Lum of Eugene, who died Dec. 4 of lung cancer. He was 64.
He was born Sept. 8, 1943, in Astoria to John and Clara Wong Lum. He married Jean Roberts on April 8, 1979, in Santa Barbara, Calif.
He graduated from high school in Astoria and from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara.
He served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1969, during the Vietnam War, as a photographer and cook. He was a custom knife maker and designer specializing in Japanese and Chinese swords. He also managed the Shutterbug at Valley River Center.
Survivors include his wife; a son, Eli of Mountain View, Calif.; and two brothers, Ronald of Napa, Calif., and James of Colorado Springs, Colo.
Inurnment will be at West Lawn Memorial Park in Eugene. Arrangements by West Lawn Memorial Park & Funeral Home in Eugene. Remembrances to children’s programs at First Baptist Church of Springfield.
I want to achieve two things by starting off with these professionally shot photos. 1) To remind myself how much I need to learn to be able to take pictures of this caliber. 2) To show Bob's work in the best possible light.
My good friend of 20 years, Mr. Bob Lum, the custom knife maker from Eugene, Or., passed away on 12/4/07 around Noon. This came after a rather brief battle with lung cancer. Brief, because the cancer was only discovered this past April. I hope in creating this Blog, to be able to pay tribute to him as a man, and most importantly, as an artist of the highest caliber.