Steve Shackleford Blog

Custom Knife Ambassador Lobred Passes Away

Elvis, Lobred and Hibben.

Custom knife ambassador Phil Lobred joined Gil Hibben in a special audience with Elvis Presley and Kenpo martial artist Ed Parker in 1974. From left: Presley, Parker, Lobred and Hibben. (Conway image)

Custom knife ambassador Philip Carl “Phil” Lobred, the man who commissioned the reproduction of the King Tut Dagger by Buster Warenski and along with Gil Hibben enjoyed a special audience with Elvis Presley, passed away Dec. 14 after a long illness. He was 72.

Lobred was one of the first big-time collectors of custom knives. He began collecting them in 1968 and befriended many of the legendary custom knifemakers of the day, including BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame© members Gil Hibben, Bob Loveless, Buster Warenski and Bill Moran, and also such preeminent makers as Jim Schmidt, Ted Dowell, Herman Schneider and many others.

Hibben and Lobred were especially close. Lobred lived in Alaska in the early 1970s and Hibben moved to Anchorage and made knives out of Lobred’s garage. In 1974, Lobred accompanied Hibben on a private audience with Elvis Presley (see “The Elvis Knife,” July 1997 BLADE®). A member of the Martial Arts Hall Of Fame as well, Hibben knew Ed Parker, the renowned Kenpo martial arts instructor, who also had been one of Presley’s bodyguards. Hibben had made a Kenpo knife in which The King expressed interest, so Parker arranged a meeting for Hibben to present one of the knives to Presley. Lobred was invited along.

“I had the privilege to have Phil Lobred in my life, not only as a friend but as a brother for the past 47 years,” Hibben noted. “He was the closest friend I have ever had and I truly loved him. We shared a

King Tut Lobred commission

Phil Lobred commissioned the most iconic custom knife of all time, the reproduction of the King Tut Dagger by BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame© member Buster Warenski. (SharpByCoop image)

custom knife ambassador Lobred

Custom knives had no finer ambassador than Phil Lobred. (PointSeven image)

history that few others will ever know and my memories with Phil will live on forever in my heart. His loss is devastating, not only to his family and close friends but to the many, many hearts he touched in the knife community and around the world. ‘Here’s to you P.Q., we had a great time together.'” “P.Q.” is Hibben’s nickname for Lobred and stands for “Pretty Quick.”

One of Lobred’s crowning achievements is the biennial Art Knife Invitational. The AKI assembles 25 of the world’s finest knifemakers in a special show in which high-dollar collectors are invited and enter their names in drawings to buy the knives of their choice. It was the first successful biennial knife show and at least two other shows—the Solvang Custom Knife Show and California Custom Knife Show—are biennial shows today. As of this writing, this year’s AKI is scheduled for Oct. 28 at the Sheraton Hotel San Diego Bayside Tower. Exactly how Phil’s passing will affect the show’s status is unknown at this time.

Through it all, the thing Lobred probably will be remembered for most is his commissioning of the reproduction by Warenski of the King Tut dagger in 1982. It took Warenski five years to complete the knife, which included 33 ounces of gold, an ancient technique known as granulation for the handle and much more. When the knife was exhibited at the 1987 Knifemakers’ Guild Show it was a sensation, and served as the cover knife for the February 1988 BLADE. The knife has since been valued at $1 million.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of El Camino Memorial-Sorrento Valley, San Diego, California. Service information is unavailable at this time.

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2 thoughts on “Custom Knife Ambassador Lobred Passes Away

  1. Leatherwings

    I’m sorry to hear of Phil’s passing. I remember Phil from my times at the CalCustom show-mid’80’s, still the best show I ever attended. We as human knife makers won’t be around forever, but our work-our art will be around for much longer if it is worthy to pass the test of time. As one of my smithing masters once aptly commented “Art is long-life is short-get going…”

    1. Steve ShacklefordSteve Shackleford Post author

      That’s a good saying. 😉 Phil was about as cool a customer as you could ever find. He gave new meaning to the words “laid back.” I will miss talking to him and benefiting from his vast knowledge of custom knives and the many knifemaking legends he knew. May he rest in peace.

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