Bobby Branton Acquires Legendary Throwing Knife Brand

Veteran custom knife maker Bobby Branton has acquired the Tru Balance throwing knife brand. He plans to offer classic Tru Balance models alongside his own work and may even produce never-before-seen models from Tru Balance founder Harry K. McEvoy.

Branton is keeping a core line of 6 – 8 Tru Balance throwing knife models available on an ongoing basis. This line will be known as the Harry K. McEvoy Legacy series. The March 2018 selection consists of 6 different knives, but more could be added depending on demand.

But most exciting for throwing knife fans is what they haven’t seen yet. As happened with Nemesis Knives and the Mar Private Reserve, Branton inherited hundreds of nearly lost McEvoy knife drawings. Someday these could become physical realities under the new Tru Balance. “I’ve got a huge box of designs that nobody’s ever seen before,” Branton says. He also sees an opportunity for one-off custom jobs based on Tru Balance designs, as well as a secondary platform for his own work. “If I want a change of pace I might add something of my own to the line.”

The modern knife community which prioritizes folders may not be familiar with the Tru Balance name. But according to Branton it was the definitive custom throwing knife shop throughout the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. “Harry McEvoy and Tru Balance’s place in history was instrumental in modern knife throwing,” he explains. McEvoy was part of the first wave of influential knife makers, and Branton asserts he was to custom throwing knives what Bo Randall or Bill Scagel were to fixed blades. “Even though McEvoy chose throwing knives as his specialty he was revered as anybody making knives at that time.” He was also a knife writer, and penned several books on knife throwing as well as a volume on Scagel’s work.

After Harry’s death in 1993 his son Stephen kept Tru Balance going, but things slowed down as the market changed and the internet became a daily reality for knife fans. Finally, Branton, who worked closely with both McEvoys for years, decided to pick up the label himself. “This seemed like the natural thing to do, so we struck a deal. This is really 60 years’ worth of knife history. It would’ve been a shame to watch it die out.” He will continue to make the McEvoy Legacy Series the same way they’ve been made in the past: by hand in small batches of a couple dozen knives.

A storied custom maker, Branton designed the unusual Urban Protector for Kizer, and Outdoor Edge brought out some of his own throwing knife models last year. As for whether or not the Tru Balance acquisition will play into his production output, it’s too early to say. Throwing knives don’t enjoy the wide appeal of folders, so it may be better to keep Tru Balance alive in a small way rather than push it where it shouldn’t go. “Hopefully I can keep it going another 10 or 15 years and find another guy like me to take it on when it’s time for me to pass it on,” Branton tells us.

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