Alligator-Themed Knife by Verlin CosselKatie Horn
Bladesmith Verlin Cossel, a perennial supporter of the CLF Live Fundraising Auction, is renowned for creating entirely unique knives that come accompanied with a custom display stand. His creation for this year’s auction is a one-of-a-kind work of art with a remarkable back story. Featuring an alligator theme, Cossel’s knife, measuring 13 inches overall with an 8-inch-long-blade, is a robust edged weapon worthy of the southern frontier.
Cossel’s stunning frontier blade was forged from 1095 steel; a full tang is nestled in a beautifully patterned curly hardwood handle fitted with a brass end cap. The blade itself carries the motif that is seen throughout this work of art: a meandering line of alligator tracks which were hot stamped into the steel. The opposite side of the blade carries a hot-stamped heart, and the brass guard is filed into the shape of an alligator.
The knife is accompanied with a custom display stand made from curly maple, which was given a rich finish with aqua fortis and Tru-Oil. The stand is topped with a brass alligator silhouette, as well as an intricate swirl of brass rod that holds the entire collection in place.
This set also comes with a custom-made sheath. Crafted from alligator hide, this hand-sewn sheath features a cowhide welt and a decorative brass alligator track. The sheath’s belt loop was also cut to mimic the shape of an alligator’s tail.
The sheath itself is an understated memorial to patriotism and outright resolve. Cossel was given the tanned alligator hide that was used to create this sheath by J.D. Williams, who Cossel met at a Hershel House knife seminar. Williams served his country in Afghanistan, but returned from action missing three limbs. Far from surrendering to his wounds, Williams established a non-profit organization to assist fellow veterans experience the great outdoors. On one particularly memorable hunt, Williams took a 13 ½ foot long alligator with a bow. Cossel’s knife is a fitting testament to William’s hunt, as well as his remarkable determination in the face of adversity.
For more information on the work of Verlin Cossel, contact the artist directly:
Text by Joshua Shepherd
Photography by David Wright