My First Sword – Made by R. Luttrell
In the mid 1980s I spent a lot of time at Prestonwood Mall, in Dallas, because that’s where my sister had ice skating lessons. She was really good at skating, and trained hard, which meant I was at the mall several times a week. Not a bad place to be at age 14. Prestonwood Mall was in it’s prime back then. It had one hell of an arcade called Tilt, a huge food court, and the most magical store in the world called House of Knives. This is where my teenage sword story starts.
Buying my First Sword Twenty Dollars at a Time
Every time I was in the mall I would go gawking at the knife shop. I would stare at the glass cabinets, dreaming and drooling over all of the amazing knives. After several visits the workers of the shop asked my name and we talked about what I liked and what I didn’t like. They taught me about different types of knives, the materials they were made of and the quality of work that different manufacturers had. They let me look at everything. Holding the knives in my own hands was exhilarating.
One day I came into the store and there was a new sword hanging on the back wall. I was drawn to it because it wasn’t like anything else that they had in the store. I asked to hold it and the guy behind the counter handed it to me. Oh my gawd it was amazing. The quality of the workmanship was so much better than the other swords they had in the shop, and it was much more expensive. I asked what made this sword so special? They said it was made by a local knife maker. It wasn’t mass produced like most of the knives in the store. Someone custom made it from scratch.
For the next six months or so I would come in and that was the only blade that I wanted to hold. I left the store begrudgingly each visit. Finally one of the workers asked why I didn’t just buy it? That really surprised me, I knew from the first time I saw it that I would never be able to buy it. At $450 it was way out of a fourteen year old’s price range. When I pointed out the obvious, he just smiled and asked me if I had ever heard of layaway? I had not. So he explained that if I would put down twenty dollars on it, no one else could buy it as long as I made regular payments on it ’til it was payed off. I handed over all of my arcade money and left the House of Knives in a daze.
I had a paper route at the time, and after each payday, instead of heading straight to the arcade, I’d stop by the knife shop to make a payment on my sword. I did this for many, many months. Usually twenty dollars at a time. Eventually, I handed my paper route off to a friend and started bagging food at a grocery store so I could make more money and pay off a more of the layaway at each visit to the store. Still, it took a couple of years for me to finish paying it off. One day the shop worker told me I was done. I had paid it all off. But there was a hitch. After working so hard, and paying so much, I found out that they couldn’t actually let me walk out of the store with it. I was too young! According to the law, I had to ask one of my parents to come in with me to pick it up. Whoops! I had never actually told my parents about the sword, or the layaway, or the fact that I was spending most of my hard-earned money on a weapon. They’d no idea what I was doing. So, all I could do was tell the shop worker that I would be back next time, with my dad.
That week I talked to my father about buying a sword, and that I needed him to pick it up with me. He was surprised. But told me he would.
Next weekend couldn’t come fast enough. When my father told me he was ready I was probably halfway to the car before he finished his sentence. When we arrived at the store all of the workers gathered and handed me a box that contained my sword. Then they handed my father the receipt. They said that they had fun watching me each week with it. I don’t think he really looked at the receipt until we were halfway out of the mall. Suddenly he just stopped walking. I was behind him and basically ran into him. He turned to me and said “You spent $450 on this knife?” I immediately corrected him and said “it’s a sword, Dad!”. He wanted to sit down on a bench right there in the mall to look at it, but I talked him into waiting until we were home.
Once home, we set the box on the kitchen table and opened it. By then my mother and siblings were there too. I think everyone was blown away, just like I was the first time I saw it. Probably for different reasons. But by the end of the day it was hanging on the wall in my room and I probably had a smile on my face for a full week.
R. Luttrell Who is He?
Unfortunately I don’t know much about the knife maker who made my sword. The only thing I know is that he lived around Ft. Worth in the 1980s. The sword has R Luttrell etched into the blade. I saw several of his other custom creations over the years at some of the other knife stores around the Dallas area, but no one seemed to have any information about him. I would love to know more about him, but I don’t know where to look. I’ve tried contacting local knife guilds, and done all of the searches that the Internet allows. But after thirty years of owning the sword, I don’t even know if the maker is still alive.
Is there a secret monster list of all custom knife makers that I haven’t seen? Is there a web page somewhere that I haven’t found? Did he move to another state and I am just looking in the wrong area? Where do I find this knife maker?
Please help me find some information!