A.G. is one of the last of what I refer to as the 'knife renaissance men'. Men of his generation - Bill Moran, Bob Loveless, Jimmy Lyle, Gil Hibben, Harvey Draper and others - ignited the modern knife revolution beginning in the mid-1960s, and it's a revolution that continues today.
A.G. isn't really a knife maker. He's a knife designer, promoter and retailer who started A.G. Russell Knives in the 1970s. Many up and coming knife makers got their first national exposure when A.G. promoted their knives in his catalogs. But A.G. really got his start in the mid-1960s by selling Arkansas whetstones. Arkansas whetstones are made of natural novaculite, a metamorphic form of chert. The Ouachita range in Arkansas is famous for it's novaculite formations, and the region is the largest US source of natural sharpening stones. A.G. quickly became the largest retailer of natural sharpening stones in the US. In the last 20 years or so the demand for traditional Arkansas whetstones has fallen off as high quality man made sharpening products like diamond sharpening stones or ceramic 'V' sharpeners have taken their place. The lack of demand eventually caused A.G. to drop Arkansas stones from his catalog all together.
But at the last Blade Show here in Atlanta I spent some time talking to the folks from Dan's Whetsone Company of Pearcy, Arkansas. They told me that A.G. is again interested in carrying Arkansas whetstones in his catalog and is talking to Dan's about supplying the various sizes and grades he's is interested in. That's great news for someone like me who likes to sharpen knives the traditional way. EVERYONE who owns a knife should have a good Arkansas whetstone!
Here's one of a series of several videos A.G. recently made. The entire series is available on YouTube or is linked from the A.G. Russell Knives website.