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West Palm Beach man presents special gift to President Trump

Posted at 7:55 PM, Feb 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-06 04:42:23-05

A West Palm Beach man was able to bring a knife inside the Winter White House and get away with it.

Turns out, it was a one-of-a-kind gift that the president wants to turn into a piece of history one day.

WPTV had a chance to meet artisan knife maker, Jim Barry. Ask him anything about knives and he'll have nearly 50 years worth of stories to tell you.

"This is the signature I've put on several thousands and thousands of knives over 45 years," he said, showing us his classic 'JB' insignia on one of his blades.

Barry, who is 75 years young, prides himself on his work making artisan hunting knives. You can hand him practically any object and bet he'll be able to turn it into a knife worthy of displaying in a museum.

"Bet you can't make a knife with a bottle," he said of a challenge he accepted from a friend, having turned an old, 100-year bottle into a knife.

He doesn't have a website and he's still able to stay busy conducting all of his commissioned works by word of mouth.

But of all the knives he's worked on over the years, there is one knife that might take the cake on the biggest project he's ever taken on in his career.

"It started off as a hobby and ended up making a knife for the president of the United States," he said.

Barry just so happens to be in close connection with Donald Trump, Jr., who is an avid hunter. Trump Jr. has taken a liking to Barry's craftsmanship in knives.

And that's why when Trump Jr. needed some help in coming up with the perfect gift for his father just in time for the New Year, he didn't have to search far. He asked Barry to make President Donald Trump a special one-of-a-kind piece.

"Trying to conceive something and then have it culminate into something that you're presenting to the president of the United States, I can't put it into words. It's just crazy," said Barry.

It took Barry an entire year to make a special, 20-inch knife for the president. Trump Jr. contacted him about the project around the time of the election in 2016.

He even used 10,000 year old ivory for the handle.

"That was wooly mammoth ivory, which made it very special," said Barry.

Barry hand-drew an eagle on the ivory, a process called "scrimshaw", which took him 160 hours. The picture was inspired by a real photo from a friend's nature photography.

"No electrical equipment, simply my hand. Probably 150 hours on the knife. And another 100 something hours on the case," said Barry.

On New Year's Eve, Barry presented the gift to the president himself at the Winter White House.

"He was genuinely, genuinely thrilled," said Barry. "He was extremely interested in the piece and asking all kinds of questions. And he was such a gentleman. It was such a neat neat experience, I tell you, it was wonderful."

At the end, a gift in return for Barry himself -- a rare medal from the Secret Service. Barry said words from one of the secret service agents especially moved him.

"He said he worked for Obama for three years, he worked for the Trumps for a year. He's been all over the world seeing the museums and he's seen all the gifts that have been handed to people," said Barry. "And he said Jim, I want to tell you, this is the nicest thing I've ever seen anyone give the president."

The knife is priceless but Barry said if he ever had to make a knife just like that again with the same amount of time it took to make it, he would sell it for $50,000.

Barry said when President Donald Trump's presidential library is constructed, he was told that the knife will be put on display there for the rest of time.