By Ben Sheroan of The News Enterprise, Elizabethtown, KY
With a newly issued building permit in hand, the Basham family is ready to start construction on a new home for Red Hill Cutlery – possibly as early as today, if weather permits.
To be placed on a lot off Ky. 313 near Boundary Oak Distillery, the knife retailer hopes to capitalize on tourism traffic and attract more collectors to its privately owned Kentucky Museum of American Pocketknives.
The business picked up a $15,000 check Thursday from Radcliff tourism to help pay for what is expected to become an immediate Radcliff landmark. At 20-feet long with a 17.5-foot steel blade, the store plans to place what its owners believe will be the world’s largest pocketknife.
Red Hill Cutlery owner Lonnie Basham said the giant knife will be a full working model with multi-position blade and a etched indention ideal for a giant’s fingernail.
“We’re hoping it will bring people into Radcliff,” he said.
A design sketch has been completed by Modern Welding, which will create the blade and its handle over the next two weeks. The two-ton product will be transported to Glenn’s Auto Body shop off Deckard School Road, where it will be painted, customized and finished to resemble a Case-brand pocketknife.
The Bashams are working with W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co. of Bradford, Pennsylvania, one of the world’s largest makers of knives. They expect the company to create standard-size commemorative knives identical to the giant model for Red Hill Cutlery to showcase.
Jason Basham said Case is excited about the project. Jason, who works with his parents and brother, Josh, to operate the family businesses, called it a “timeless pattern.”
Once installed on the hillside, Lonnie Basham said the blade will be pinned in place for safety reasons with the steel arching toward the sky at a 75-degree angle.
The area around the knife will be landscaped and lighted so the blade can be spotted around the clock by motorists on Ky. 313 and nearby U.S. 31W.
Basham expects it will become a popular spot for snapshots and attract visitors with only nominal interest in pocketknives.
Radcliff was designated as the Knife Capital of Kentucky by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2018 by the state Senate — largely because of Red Hill Cutlery’s reputation and the Basham museum. A similar resolution affirming the honor passed the state House this year.