Neil Kamimura Project

James Demer

Working with metal has always fascinated me. Maybe it’s the sound of the blacksmiths hammer pounding red hot iron, or maybe it’s the smell of slag melting in the furnace. It’s definitely the sight of the metalsmith in his heavy leather apron and goggles, sending sparks flying while he crafts something that might be used for a lifetime.
Neil Kamimura was introduced to me by our mutual friend, knife maker and survivalist Laura Zerra.

Neil is a third generation Hawaiian who, although relatively new to metalsmithing himself, has the craft in his blood. His great-grandfather was a master blacksmith and a young Neil watched and learned from him. Today Neil Kamimura is highly sought after for his bladework. He makes sharp things that are not only beautiful, but built for service. Neil was also winner of the History Channel show Forged In Fire link.

Neil at his shop in Hawaii
Ready for Blade Show West

Neil wanted a custom DemerBox to bring to Blade Show West and when he asked, I jumped at the opportunity. I wanted to build something really special that reflected timeless craftmanship, and would evoke a dark, smoky, mysterious feeling.

The cool thing about DemerBox is we are part Zac Brown's Southern Ground, which is a crazy collection of some of the most talented craftspeople around, all under one roof. I made the rounds and convinced some of our artists to add their skill to my vision. Enjoy the photos below that tell the story of how we made the Neil Kamimura Signature DemerBox.

Ramon Valdivia Jr is a third generation master leather worker from Leon, Mexico.
Ramon decided to wrap the Kamimura DemerBox handle in buffalo hide, and hand stitch with copper colored thread.
Ryan Barrett and Kristian Baena of Zac Brown Customs

Kristian Baena is a world renowned painter and airbrush artist who has been working with ZB Customs link for six years. He recently painted a military themed motorcycle link and a bespoke vest that Zac wears on stage. Ryan Barrett is a painter who works with Kristian and his expertise is applying finishes to wood and metal. Ryan and Kristian applied the copper PlateAll to the grills and port cap.

Peter Walker and Bill Odom of Zac Brown Customs

Peter specializes in running automated tools like our five axis CNC router and laser machine. Peter artfully laid out and lasered the Kamimura design into the back of the DemerBox. Bill is one of those guys who’s good at whatever he does.

One of Bill Odom's interests is applying chemicals to metal to create patina and his contribution was to “age” the copper grills and port caps. The results are stunning.

I applied the copper paint inlay to the laser etched signature and logo, then assembled and tested the finished box. Neil Kamimura is very happy with the box and that makes us feel good.

To learn more about the capabilities of Zac Brown's Southern Ground, read here- link

1 comment

  • Awesome work by all. I love the leather wrapped handle! It’s unique style invokes great character!
    Damon Riesz on

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