James B. (Jimmy) Lile
About Jimmy Lile
It’s not enough to say Jimmy Lile was a legend among knifemakers. He made his mark on the custom knife world long before the Rambo movies made him famous. But even more famous was the knife on which he and Sylvester Stallone had collaborated. The knife would become the star of the great movie, Rambo, First Blood.
Jimmy and Sly went on to create a second star for the next movie in the series, Rambo, First Blood II, The Mission. These two knives have enjoyed over 3 decades of fame as either model is still coveted in the knife collecting community. Original Rambo models made by Jimmy Lile are rare – a numbered original First Blood knife, when available, trades for $15,000 and up. Some originals have auctioned for over $75,000.
Many copies have been made over the years. Some are cheap imitations and several custom knifemakers have honored Jimmy Lile by making a good version. None are better than the knives available on this website and no others bear the trademarked Lile name.
About Lile Knives, LLC.
Lile Knives, LLC., is owned by John Hill of McKinney, Texas. John’s history with Jimmy and Marilyn Lile dates to the 1980’s when Bob Rankin ran the Lile Knife Store in Dallas. In those days, John sometimes traveled to shows with Bob Rankin selling the original First Blood movie knives. John and Bob remain close friends today. In 2003, John co-authored a book on Jimmy Lile’s knives and legacy, James B. Lile, The Arkansas Knifesmith. After Jimmy’s death in 1991, John kept his close friendship with Marilyn (Lile) Miller. John later acquired the Lile tradename from Marilyn in order to produce Jimmy’s movie knives at the highest quality level for those many collectors who never got the chance at one of Jimmy’s originals due to Jimmy’s life ending at the peak of his career. John was motivated by two things; a desire to honor Jimmy and his collectors by producing the highest quality remakes of Jimmy’s famous movie knives, keeping true to custom knifemaker standards, and to create a way for Marilyn to receive royalties for her many years of hard work. Getting rich off this was never a prime motive. John owns a successful oil and gas business, among other investments, and this is a side venture.
In 2011, John Hill contacted Vaughn Neeley, former owner and designer of the 1980’s company, Timberline Knives, in Colorado. Vaughn made the Timberline Hollow Handle Survival knife in the 1980’s and it had similar features and quality to Jimmy’s Rambo knives. John struck a deal with Vaughn to make a limited run of Jimmy’s movie knives from the movies, First Blood and First Blood II, The Mission. Vaughn successfully sold the series out in both models with stellar approval from collectors. Vaughn, now with nearly 40 years’ experience as a custom knife maker, has created a new collector’s series for Lile Knives, LLC., using the highly regarded ceramic coating, Cerakote™ combined with his signature mirror finish to create an even more stunning version of Jimmy’s movie knives. Vaughn is producing the “Cerakote™ Series” entirely himself while the new “Utility Series” of both movie models are being made under Vaughn’s training and supervision.
The LILE trademark is registered in various forms in the U.S. and other countries. It is owned by Lile Knives, LLC.
James B. Lile – The Arkansas Knifesmith (Standard Edition)
John Hill, owner of Lile Knives, LLC., co-authored a book on Jimmy Lile’s knives and legacy, James B. Lile, The Arkansas Knifesmith. The book is available for purchase.