Finish Line in Sight for Lucas Burnley’s 365 Knife Design Marathon

To stoke his creative fires, Lucas Burnley challenged himself to sketch out a new knife design every day for a year. With 297 knives already drawn up, the initiative, which he dubbed BRNLY365, is in the home stretch and it has already led to new production and custom models.

As the project nears completion, there’s a little bit of everything in the BRNLY365 portfolio: folding knives, fixed blades, big and small knives – even oddball entries like a chestnut knife, a longsword, or gun/knife combos. Burnley says that the informal nature of sketching compels him to let his imagination run wild. The concepts aren’t refined but could plant the seeds of future projects. “For me, a knife sketch is essentially a starting point,” he explains.

Many of these knives will never see the light of day, but there are some Burnley reckons could be successful. “There’s probably five or six that I would really like to make,” he says, pointing to Days 138, 238, 248, 250, 258, and 294.

BRNLY Day 238

Two sketches have already become realities. Day 221 became the Huck fixed blade, and Day 69 was picked up by CRKT and turned into the appropriately named Sketch, which the company announced in May. It may not be the last to hit production either. “BRNLY365 gives me some direction for what to submit for factory collaborations,” Burnley says.

Starting on May 4th, 2015, Burnley completed 165 drawings in consecutive days, but life and other obligations interrupted the streak. Regardless, with the finish line now in sight Burnley continues to post new drawings. He wasn’t supposed to agonize over these knives, with each drawing to be completed in about 15 minutes.

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The BRNLY365 project traces back to the success of his Kwaiken. Before he took his last order in 2012, every customer on his books was down for a Kwaiken. He appreciated its popularity, but the business of filling orders made it difficult to find the time to dream up new ideas. “There was a frustration of feeling like I was tied to that design,” he says. BRNLY365 became the treadmill he needed to exercise his creative muscles.

These days, Burnley sketches up a new knife as often as he can and just finished his latest design last Saturday. “I look at my personal projects in terms of consistency,” he says. “I don’t always hit my own deadlines but I know myself, and I know I’ll get it done.”

Knife featured in image: BRNLY Day 183