Eric Girouard 0:00
This is bucket talk weekly podcast where people who work in the trades and construction that aren't just trying to survive but have the ambition and desire to thrive. The opportunity to trade and construction is absolutely ridiculous right now. So if you're hungry, it's time to eat. We discussed what it takes to rise from the bottom to the top with people who are well on their way and roll up their sleeves every single day.
Jeremy Perkins 0:28
This is Jeremy and Eric here with bucket talk powered by BRUNT. This week we have Kaila Cummings. Kaila Cummings is a bladesmith from New Hampshire. But before we jump in, Eric, what's been going on?
Eric Girouard 0:39
All right, so we just got back from a heck of a few days last week at Nashville. Both Jeremy and I on behalf of Brunt went down to Nashville and through what is called a writer's round with the incredible team here at Brunt. Dylan on our team who's local there helped organize it is plugged into the scene had his lovely wife as one of the songwriters in another eight folks we had nine different folks perform it's great to see everyone supporting the business from early on Brad brown field who reps the brand and likes what we got going on actually was able to perform at the event and we had open bar and a lot of fun. Jeremy, Why don't you pile on top what else got on going down there?
Jeremy Perkins 1:23
It was cool. It was first time going to Nashville in this capacity and man Broadway was amazing. We were out there you know having a few beers and drawing some music but it was good to rub elbows like Eric said with some of the early supporters of the business you know shout out to Zach over there quality HVAC our Andrew cold brew woodworking, Jason Cosco, the list goes on. But definitely good conversation. Great music and Damn, I'm looking forward to to move into Nashville.
Eric Girouard 1:55
Yes, sir. So thanks to Kaila, for joining us for this incredible podcast we're about to get into today. And as a thanks to her. And for her audience. You can use code Blade 10 dla D 10. For $10 off. Your next purchase is $6 or more. So thanks, Kaila. Let's dig in.
Jeremy Perkins 2:18
Alright, today we're here with Kaila Cummings. Kaila comes from New Hampshire. She's a custom knife maker. Hunter. survivalist. Kaila, welcome.
Kaila Cumings 2:25
Oh, thanks for having me on, guys.
Jeremy Perkins 2:28
We're glad to have you on. You have crazy, you know, you got a lot of stuff going on. Love the knife making side but definitely want to tell your side of the story. Like where are you based out of a little bit of your background and how you got here today?
Kaila Cumings 2:43
Yeah, definitely. Geez, I don't even know where to start. So I'm based out in New Hampshire. I was born and raised here. I started the Keene area. Oh, nice.
Eric Girouard 2:52
Okay, okay. Yeah. My wife grew up in, in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, way up north in God's countries, as they say, but, but I go up there we love we love New Hampshire spent a lot of time up there.
Kaila Cumings 3:05
Nice. Yeah, I love it here. Live free or die. That's right. Yeah, I mean, I was I was born and raised here started making knives back in. Probably 2012 2014. So I started off by doing knife reviews on YouTube. And then I kind of just fell in love with it. And I was like, you know, if I want to be reviewing other people's products, I really should know how to do this myself. So I sold my gun and my knife collection. And I just taught myself how to forge and yeah, the rest is pretty much history from there.
Eric Girouard 3:35
Wow. Okay, so then that's the knife side of things, obviously, which is what we know we know you most for but tell us a little bit of like, what's that's opened up? It seems like a lot of doors for you in different avenues and gotten you into a bunch of different things. Tell us a little bit about.
Kaila Cumings 3:49
Yeah, definitely. So I've always been like the crazy kid that was running around the woods naked. I was always like naked, but I had my cowgirl boots on playing on the books and you know, doing stuff like that and just being outdoorsy, I grew up hunting. My dad used to take me out all the time. So I've always been really outdoorsy, I actually got into competition shooting when I was in like middle school. So I did that for a long time. And then yeah, Naked and Afraid, reached out to me. She's probably like, back in 2015. And I honestly thought it was a joke. And I was like, Yeah, whatever. Just kept brushing it off. And then finally after a couple of times with a masking I was like Ah, let's see what happens and next thing I knew I was on a plane heading to Colombia to go survive in the jungles. So I've done three challenges now possibly for you guys posted on the latest one but yeah, so I've done three lynoral in 21 days in Colombia 40 days in South Africa and then I was supposed to do 60 days in Peru but that one was a tough one. So
Eric Girouard 4:53
Oh, wow. Okay.
Jeremy Perkins 4:56
That is absolutely insane actually was kind of funny resonated with me. I mean, My little boy is just running around half the time in his underwear out in the woods. So it was made me smile when I when I heard that but yeah, how do you prepare for something like that? I mean, I know that like survivalist training survival stuff up in New England is pretty I mean, I have a lot of food. We have a lot of water. We have a lot of different resources around here, but like how do you prepare, going to a different country for something like that? Yeah,
Kaila Cumings 5:25
I mean, honestly, you just you need to know the basics, which I feel like if you can survive in New England, you can survive just about anywhere. But honestly, the biggest thing I do to prep for these challenges is I just gain a lot of weight. Got it? Yeah, I just I fatten up so I eat a lot of like MC flurries and cheeseburgers and pizza. That's my favorite part of the training.
Jeremy Perkins 5:47
I'm ready to go. So I mean the training is already complete. Awesome. Awesome. So tell us a little bit more about the knife business. So you, you know, you sold your gun and knife collection? And then you obviously probably bought like a small Forge? Did you go to a class and learn how to forge or?
Kaila Cumings 6:07
No, everything was just I watched a lot of YouTube tutorial videos. And then I just I taught myself just all trial and error. I had a couple of mentors, Alan folds kenangan they're all designers for crk tea. Yeah. And I just I called them a lot of times late at night, like hey, how do you heat treat this? Or am I doing this right or? So? Yeah, just basically all trial and error.
Jeremy Perkins 6:29
Yeah, actually can onion kind of resonates with me? I got a Kenyan knife around here somewhere. But that's awesome. Yeah, that was, that's cool. They did their crk tea does like a huge knife Smith collaboration. So it's like a whole bunch of different knife makers that make up their product offering which was pretty cool. Yeah, a lot of
Kaila Cumings 6:46
the people that were kind of mentors of mine are all I mean, crk tea was a huge staple in Keno getting me started in the knife community too, because they were, you know, one of the first companies to reach out and be like, hey, we'd love for you to review our products. And then I kind of got involved with like, some of the makers and artists and stuff with them. And they're a great company.
Jeremy Perkins 7:05
Is that your goal? I mean, do you already have a CR KP knife? Or is that your goal to have a signature knife with a brand? Or are you just more of a custom made for the customer? One off stuff?
Kaila Cumings 7:17
Yeah. So I have some things in the works that I can't really talk about right now. But that's fine. Yeah. crk Ti is it's been a goal of mine to get in with them for many, many years. So I have some exciting stuff going on with them. And hopefully I'll be able to talk about in a couple months here. All right,
Jeremy Perkins 7:33
well, that one?
Kaila Cumings 7:37
That's super, super cool. Yeah. And I mean, that's really the like the end game is to be able to have, you know, a couple of different designs and with different companies and get to that point. So I have a design that was just released with CVV knives, my PD seven model, which was really cool. I'm excited about that. And I did like a run with pull force knives. They're out of Germany. So that was kind of cool. But yeah, just learning every day and growing. And, yeah,
Jeremy Perkins 8:05
so actually, I do want to get a little deeper into that. So you would essentially design the knife and then somebody would replicate it for you? Or would you continue to make knives, and then that would be the collection? So each one would kind of be its own? Its own individual thing. But you can have it in the series? or what have you, are you physically making all of the knives or with somebody else, manufacture your prototype or whatever.
Kaila Cumings 8:27
With different companies, they'll manufacture and distribute all of them. And then I can still do my custom models. So I'm still I'm still making them, but it's more of the custom side of things. And then they'll obviously like mass produce them as well. And then they can sell them at a cheaper price. But I can still sell my customers at at a higher price.
Eric Girouard 8:46
Yeah. So as I think about like your brand, so obviously, it's your namesake, where you create your own custom knives and sell those but then the thought there is leveraging the power that you've built through your own personal brand to be able to lend that to knives from under another kind of knife but with your namesake attached to it, basically. Yeah,
Kaila Cumings 9:07
exactly. Yeah. And it's a way for the customer to be able to buy something at a cheaper cost to you because obviously you guys know, you know, custom work is not cheap. So yeah, it's a way for them to be able to you know, afford something that is a little bit cheaper.
Jeremy Perkins 9:20
Awesome. So what is one thing now you wish you knew? When you first started back, you know, toying around with blade smithing, figuring out who would be the best mentor I'm sure people will probably lead you down the wrong path. So and then you made your fair share of mistakes. What would you tell a younger version of yourself? Something that you you know, now that you wish you knew then
Kaila Cumings 9:41
Oh, that's such a good question. That's so so hard to answer. There's a lot of things but I think the biggest thing, and this is probably silly, but just to walk away when you're having a bad day. It was probably my biggest thing I learned because I spend a lot of time out in the shop where I've just been having an awful day and messing something got up and I just kept going. And if I had just put it down, I would have probably saved myself so much time and money.
Jeremy Perkins 10:08
Now with forging and bladesmithing is that one of those things that like, if you make a mistake, you can continue to use the same material. You just have to, you know, pound it back together and then reshape it or is it something that you should just like, Stop, grab another piece of metal and you've gone down the path of trying to repair something when you should have just started over again?
Kaila Cumings 10:26
Yeah, what's that? What's that saying? It's like, there's no such thing as a bad knife. Just a smaller knife or something. I love that. I'm like, Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I mean, you can you can repurpose a lot of things. But yeah, it just gets smaller and smaller each time. So got it. Yeah, I like doing so. I love repurposing different things. So I'll do a lot of things. I like lawnmower blades or fairy arrest. I don't know if you guys are fans of like the Boston Bruins, but I did some knives for them. And they gave me like their old skate blades. And then I forced those into some knives for the team. I had a guy that was over in Iraq and his leg got blown up and he had like a metal rod that was inserted in there. And when he finally got it taken out, he still wanted to keep it so he sent it to me and had me make a knife out of it. So I like doing crazy things like that.
Jeremy Perkins 11:18
And that's super cool. Super nerve wracking to because you have like, especially with the metal rod, you have one shot here. It's like maybe you can ask the Bruins for a couple more skate blades, but like,
Kaila Cumings 11:30
yeah, exactly, but I definitely can't mess that one up. So and again. Yeah, it looked awesome. I was pretty psyched on it.
Jeremy Perkins 11:39
That's pretty cool. So what is it? What is the day in the life look like for you? Like we'd like getting up in the morning? What do you are you answering emails processing orders, or you write into the shop, just grinding away and then all the other stuff kind of ends at the bear comes at the end of the day.
Kaila Cumings 11:54
Oh man. I mean, honestly, every day is an adventure for me. So it's not good when I get bored. So if I spend too much time out in the shop, which I tend to do, I basically live out here. I'll just go out and wander into the woods until I find something I like to my favorite hobby is to break into abandoned insane asylums.
Jeremy Perkins 12:14
Kaila Cumings 12:16
So I like to do that on the weekends. Yeah, but I mean a day in the life. Yeah, I basically I wake up, I come out answer some emails. I spend most of the day on the shop. And I'll hit the gym. And it's just I spend a lot of time out here. I love it, though. Like, it's like my second home. So I'll tell you what,
Jeremy Perkins 12:33
New England has some of the creepiest old hospitals and they really didn't know. I mean, it's like I am 100% Not for me. I won't even go near like I've seen too many. All done. Yeah. Oh, that's fine. I said, I don't need to find out. I mean, if there's something that I don't want to find it I'm good.
Kaila Cumings 12:51
No way. It's awesome. I actually got locked into an insane asylum in Massachusetts. So this place was like Fort Knox. It was so hard to get into. And I somehow found a way in. Next thing I know, I hear this noise. And I'm like, what is that? The security guard saw the one of the doors was down and ended up boarding the inside. And I was like, oh, man, this is gonna be a long
Jeremy Perkins 13:13
day. Wow. kids out there. How'd you get out? I had to kick down the door. That's alright. We won't name the place and Yeah, exactly.
The only person who does this? No, you know, I mean, there's there's a lot of other hikers and explorers. I have talked to a few folks and they like going and it's more so like just abandoned buildings in general. I mean, but for just like the regular person. I mean, how many times do you go to like the historic forts? And explore around there so I could absolutely see the the love and the passion for it. It's just happened to what extreme? Would you take it?
Kaila Cumings 13:59
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I mean, I love it. I love finding new places and exploring and just hiking out into the woods and getting lost. Basically. It's crazy.
Jeremy Perkins 14:08
If a listener out there wanted to get into your trade or in craft, you know, what would you tell them? Would you tell them to go work for a place like crk tea and learn, you know, machine work and stuff like that? Or would you tell them hey, hit the books hit YouTube, you know, learn as much as you can, and then just do it? Like, how would that work?
Kaila Cumings 14:28
Yeah, definitely. I tell everybody to follow your dreams. You know, like, life is too short. If you want to do something, just do it, you know, and then throw yourself into it as much as you can be passionate about it and just learn everything you can and just trial and error. You know, you're not going to get better if you don't practice. So. Put yourself out there and you know, don't be afraid to ask people for help. The one thing that I love about the knife community is it's like one big family honestly. I mean, I feel like I could reach out to just about anybody and everyone's you know, so eager to help and teach you so I love that it's I've had a lot of people that have been, you know, more more than helpful and that have taught me a lot of things. So, yeah, don't be afraid to ask people for help and just try your best. That's all you can do.
Jeremy Perkins 15:15
super valuable. Super cool. So, um, when you're on the show Naked and Afraid, I have to ask, did you bring your own knife? Did you make a specific knife for the show? What is that style knife and is a good survival knife?
Kaila Cumings 15:29
Yeah, definitely. So I made a knife for every single one of my challenges. It vary depending on the location that I was going to. So in Colombia, and in Africa, I made kind of like a machete style knife. I wish that I had a bigger knife when I was out. And in Africa, there was just lots of thorns out there. It was hard to cut things down. So but yeah, just depends on the location. Really?
Jeremy Perkins 15:54
How was it to travel with it?
Kaila Cumings 15:58
Colombia was awful, because I gotta sorry if that's loud. I'm hiding outside in my truck. So
Jeremy Perkins 16:06
that's the best place to take a podcast episode. Yeah,
Eric Girouard 16:11
I've done it. I've done it before.
Kaila Cumings 16:12
Yeah, exactly. It's way too loud in my shop. So Colombia, they actually lost my luggage. So they lost my knife. And I was so bummed because I think came out pretty damn good. And they were like, well, we're probably just gonna have to buy something off the street. And I was like, No, we gotta find this. So thankfully, after like a week, they they finally recovered it. But yeah, it was crazy.
Unknown Speaker 16:35
Kaila Cumings 16:36
Yeah. And then at the end of each challenge to I'll usually give my knife to like one of the people on production or like one of the people out there on this. One of the last challenges that I did, I brought a bow out with me. And I ended up giving it to like, one of the guides out there and, and he was pretty pumped on it. So
Jeremy Perkins 16:53
yeah, so my father had a family heirloom knife, and I'm still pissed at him. He went down, he went down to Mexico. And he was he was working with villagers down there. And they were farming and doing all sorts of stuff. And he ended up just like giving the knife away. And I'm like, Dad, I can't believe you get the knife away. And he's like they needed ever need it. And I'm like, it's really hard to be mad at you right now. Exactly. That's super cool. That's awesome that you did that. That's amazing.
Eric Girouard 17:24
I'm looking at your site right now. Because we're probably gonna need to get one your knives at some point. And so how does it work? Obviously looks you got a bunch sold out. It's just a good problem to have. Do you continue to make them for yourself? Or is it more you'd like to do custom people reach out to you and you work with them? Or a mix of both? Or how does how do you do that?
Kaila Cumings 17:43
Yeah, I mean, honestly, at this point, I kind of just like making, you know, whatever I feel like making and then I'll post it up. And if somebody wants to buy it, then that's great. I do like doing custom work, but it's a lot of work. Yeah, I mean, I just like to whatever I feel like creating that day, if I want to make like a big machete, then I'll do that and post it up. And if I feel like making a folder, I'll make a folder or an axe or, you know, just whatever I feel like making that day.
Eric Girouard 18:09
What's like the longest it's ever take, like, the most time you've put into a knife and then like what's kind of like standard it, you know, are you able to, like, get one done in a full working day? Do these take, you know, weeks? Months? Like give us a sense on that?
Kaila Cumings 18:23
Obviously, depending on how much detail is gonna go into it, but yeah, and I've worked on, I've worked on a couple of knives for like a month or two. Yeah, especially when you're doing like really detail oriented things. But I can do a knife in a day. So I actually teach kids I'll do like kids classes and we'll bust out a knife and you know, from like 11 to four so we can definitely make a knife in a day. Yeah, but if you guys are close by you guys should just come out and make one. Yep. You guys are always more than welcome.
Eric Girouard 18:58
Awesome. That would be a blast.
Kaila Cumings 19:01
Yeah, absolutely. Anytime you just let me know.
Jeremy Perkins 19:04
Yeah, that'd be cool. One of the last things that we we kind of asked is, you know, obviously you talk about you know, going out and exploring but outside of that, what do you like doing outside of everything when the day's done? Is it is it really just going out into the woods and unwinding? Or you know, is there more to Kayla and after work
Eric Girouard 19:25
any any unique hobbies or things that you're like, like, you know, to do X y&z that unrelated to your quote, unquote day job, I guess?
Kaila Cumings 19:34
Oh, man, I mean, anything that kind of gets my blood flowing, I guess. I mean, I like doing like indoor skydiving. I love being outdoors. I love doing archery shooting. I mean, I guess that all goes hand in hand with like, my, my brand or whatever you want to call it, but yeah, I mean just anything that uh, anything that's outdoorsy, basically, I do I take care of my mom. She has dementia so I spend a lot of time to you You care of her? I have a 15 year old daughter. So she's my best friend and I do everything with her. We're always together. So, I mean, there's a lot more to me. It's just it's hard to hard to explain, I guess how much time you guys got, you know?
Eric Girouard 20:17
My mother in law has, has has Alzheimer's, and she spends quite a bit I spent quite a bit of time to in I've seen what, what, how difficult that can be in challenging.
Kaila Cumings 20:28
Sorry to hear that. Yeah, it's definitely it's, it's hard. My mom was always a very, like, strong, independent woman. It's just it's, it's hard to see somebody just kind of deteriorate in front of you like that. So I just said, I tried to make the most out of it. And, you know, spend as much time with her as I can. And that's all you can do, you know?
Eric Girouard 20:47
Yep. Yep. It sounds like you had a good mix of family, as well as balancing kind of your work and your brand and all the all the wild stuff you've got going on.
Kaila Cumings 20:56
Yeah, absolutely. That's what it's all about, you know, just trying to balance everything out.
Jeremy Perkins 21:00
As your daughter taking a liking to what you do or is it's not for her.
Kaila Cumings 21:04
She actually loves it. So at first she was kind of in that little girly girl phase. But now she's more of a more of like the tomboy phase where she she wants to be outdoors with me and yeah, she she loves being out in the shop. She's always like, can I come out and help? Like, yeah, absolutely. I love it.
Jeremy Perkins 21:22
You're handsome. That's awesome. That's special.
Kaila Cumings 21:25
But do you guys have kids? Yeah,
Jeremy Perkins 21:27
yeah, actually, both of us do a minor a little bit older. I got six and eight year old, the girl oldest and she is in a tomboy phase as well. She's dirty, muddy everything.
Kaila Cumings 21:39
I love it. They definitely go through different phases. So my daughter Bailey was like that, where like she would always be outdoors playing in the mud and shooting her bow and she always wants to shoot guns and stuff. And then when she started, I think it was like eighth grade. She was kind of wanting to wear dresses and loved pink and like all of that stuff. And now now she's back to the tomboy phase. And I'm like, I like this space. That's great. Do you have kids like doing all kinds of stuff like that to where they're outdoorsy? And yeah,
Jeremy Perkins 22:08
I mean, we're we're on a farm up here that's kind of what we were trying to embody was was the whole outdoor sustainable, really just getting back to the roots. And at first they were a little hesitant because I mean, coming from where we were, it's a completely different lifestyle. But yeah, now they're out there. Just I mean, Luke's barefoot there and socks running around with a rifle in his hand.
Kaila Cumings 22:30
Yes, I love it there's little
Jeremy Perkins 22:31
BB gun that we can put babies in it because every window in the house would be shot out so around you know climbing trees pretending he's he's whatever the day is in my we just bought her a small metal detector and she's a little explorer out in the pasture is trying to find treasure. All she finds is now Oh, that's
Kaila Cumings 22:53
so awesome. I love it. My daughter and I will go out metal detecting and stuff too. We actually went to I think it was in Bennington, like so we did the Battle of Bennington. And we did some metal detecting and stuff out there and I found some old axe heads. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I gotta restore these Yeah, it was so cool. But yeah, we love metal detecting too. It's fun.
Jeremy Perkins 23:15
I mean ours to pick up pretty much a box for now. So I need like I need to have like, you know, verification that there's something out there so I might get out there looking for accents but I'll probably still find
Kaila Cumings 23:29
I can just find some nails yeah it's totally worth it though. Definitely killed some time. So something to do you know.
Jeremy Perkins 23:40
Now we're pretty much at the end of the show, but I wanted to give you the opportunity to plug anything to say where people can find you what you know what social media outlet what website even audiobooks, other podcasts so the floor is yours for how they can find Kayla and and get to know more about you and knifemaking cool,
Kaila Cumings 24:03
awesome. If you want to see more of my stuff. You can follow me on Instagram. It's just at Kayla Cummings my youtube channel i do knife reviews and stuff still. And I'll do like some little knife shop tutorials. Also just my name Caleb Cummings. I'm on Facebook. And my website is just Kayla Cummings knives.com That's pretty much
Eric Girouard 24:23
it. Now this has been great. It's great to connect. And yeah, I mean, I've I've followed your story from the knife side. My father in law, who's a retired state trooper in New Hampshire was always telling me about hey, you seen that woman from New Hampshire that's on naked for he loves naked afraid he's watched like every single episode that's like ever come out. It's like a favorite show on TV. I love it. It's funny to connect the dots between the knife side that I knew about and the naked afraid side through him. It's kind of kind of a small world.
Kaila Cumings 24:53
Yeah, that's too funny. I know a lot of people don't really know that I did the show. I don't promote it too much. But I was like I should probably be better at out that well, thanks for having me on guys. It's a lot of fun. Thank you.
Eric Girouard 25:05
Jeremy Perkins 25:07
And remember, use the code Blade 10 On your next purchase of $60 or more