Gil Hibben is a professional knife designer that worked with Sylvester Stallone on the knife designs for the last three Rambo films.
Gil Hibben is the only knife designer to work on three Rambo films, the most of any knifesmith that has worked on the franchise.
Work on the Rambo Films[edit | edit source]
Rambo III and IV. Gil made a video for Stallone showing him how to forge a knife for a scene in the Rambo movie "Rambo III". The scene was filmed but later cut during editing, however the forging training would come in handy for scenes in the fourth and fifth movies.
Hibben was also the chief knife consultant for Rambo: Last Blood, providing blank blades for the forging scenes as well as providing a hand-made replica of the machete from the previous film and designing two blades that did not make it into the final product.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Gil's long and illustrious career as a custom knife maker has earned him fame and the respect of collectors around the world. Appreciation of his craftsmanship has taken him to Elvis Presley's home and to the White House where one of knives was entered into the presidential archives. Gil's handmade custom knives often sell for several thousand dollars and are prized possessions of collectors. It is quite admirable to see someone who has been able to spend the majority of his life doing what he truly loves to do. In addition to being a legendary knifesmith, Gil is also a martial arts instructor in Kempo Karate, an accomplished musician and a professional Alaskan hunting guide. Gil is still making knives in LaGrange, Kentucky (ironically, Kentucky is where the novel First Blood took place), although he grew up in Wyoming. Gil's brother, Darryl also lives nearby, also making knives. After his discharge from the navy in 1956, he began making knives part time and sold his first Bowie knife for $45. While living in Seattle, Washington, Gil worked as a machinist for Boeing Aircraft and learned a lot about metals and their properties. In 1964, while living in Salt Lake City, Utah, Gil started making knives full time, and became the first custom knifemaker to use the relatively new 440C steel. After living in Alaska and designing tactical knives for Browning, Gil moved to Silver Dollar City, Missouri, where he met his wife Linda. Gil has taught other legendary knifemakers such as S.R. Johnson, Harvey Draper, and Buster Warenski among others. Gil's fame increased in 1988, when fan Sylvester Stallone, who had purchased many knives for his own knife collection, contacted Gil to design the now-famous knife used in the movie Rambo III, having been recommended to him by Jimmy Lile, designer of the previous Rambo knives. The factory reproduction has been one of the biggest selling production knives ever produced, selling over 250,000 copies. But this was just one of over 30 movies that have featured Gil's designs, including Star Trek: Generations, The Perfect Weapon, Under Seige, The Expendables, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Although it was cut out of the final edit of the film, Gil made a knife for the John Travolta movie, "Basic", and got to meet Travolta. In 1990, Gil began his annual fantasy knives series, The Silver Shadow. Although they are made for more looks than practicality, they are still made from the same durable materials Gil uses in his tactical knives. A Hibben "double shadow" was featured on an episode of Discovery Channel's Mythbusters to slice fruit. Hibben also got to appear on History Channel's More Extreme Marksman.
Gil Hibben is a fascinating man with widely varied interests and talents. Gil has been training in Kenpo karate for nearly 50 years and has earned a 6th degree black belt in the martial art, having studied under Ed Parker and 10th degree black belt Richard "Huk" Planas. Hibben was inducted into the Kenpo Karate Hall of Fame in 2015. Gil also earned belts in Judo and Aikido. Gil was inducted into the Martial Arts' Masters Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Action Martial Arts Magazine Hall of Fame in 2004. Gil is the vice president of the Knifemaker's Guild and one of the founders of the Single Barrel Cigar Society. Gil has long been interested in throwing knives and has designed a series of throwing knives and axes. His book "Gil Hibben Knife Throwing Guide" has been a popular introduction to the art for many years and is now available in it's third revision. In 2003, Gil was inducted into the Knife Throwers Hall of Fame and awarded the Outstanding Achievement In Knife Design award. Gil's artistic talents go beyond his art knives. Music has always been a big part of his life. He sang with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Chorus which won two world championships. Gil spent five years living and working in Alaska and still has family living there. During that time Gil not only made knives but was a professional guide. He still makes annual trips back to Alaska to visit his friends and family and to enjoy the great fishing.