Sitting straight in a chair, legs and bare feet crossed under him, Dave Carrier mindlessly spun a bent fork around his fingers.
“You are nothing without your bumfork and your bumfork is nothing without you,” Carrier said with a smirk.
To the unaware, bumforking involves playing with a fork that is contorted and sometimes used to spin around your finger. But bumforkers say the creative possibilities with these mangled forks are endless.
Carrier said he originally created the bumfork on St. Patrick’s Day when he picked up a fork and began to bend it.
Since the first initial bumfork, Carrier said he has made about 16 others and co-designer Mark Flanagan has made three.
The group of bumforkers began with five and has expanded to about 12. Carrier said anyone can join, but he prefers if only he or Flanagan creates them.
Fellow bumforker, Kyle Tanner, said he doesn’t consider the group a club, but instead an elite assembly you have to be inducted into.
“Present yourself to Dave and you may get one,” Tanner said with a sly smile.
Carrier said the name bumfork came from the factit’s a fork and it’s something they could see a bum using.
“It’s such a haggard, vile name to match the look,” Carrier said. “This would be the tool a bum would want and need.”
Forks are bent three different ways. The preacher’s finger is pointing straight up and is meant primarily for intimidation. Two prongs are bent forward, which they call the vipers fangs andare meant for taking food and opening things like beer bottles or doors. The last prong is called the Maiden’s wrath andis mainly used for spinning the prong around their finger, Carrier said.
Kyle van Gelder is currently out of bumforking commission due to a broken arm, but he said he’s impressed with what his friends have done with the creation.
“It’s really interesting,” van Gelder said. “It’s really an art form.”
Carrier and Flanagan said they have taken bumforking to a new level by having duels and even writing rules. For example, one rule states that if you are eating and you see a fellow bumforker, you must attempt to steal their food.
“I was going to write it [the rules] on a piece of toilet paper to make it more bummy,” Flanagan said with a laugh.
Tanner said the bumforkers duel on a regular basis and must accept the challenge when presented — even if unprepared.
“You can either have a spin duel or a regular duel,” Tanner said while demonstrating. “A spinning duel is two oncoming forks and whoever’s remains spinning and doesn’t fall off wins. But the actual duelist duels are where you tap the end of your opponent’s fork and that’s how you win.”
But at the end of the day, all that really matters for the bumforking gangis their friendship and their forks.
“It’s just a group of guys hanging out with their forks,” Carrier said while spinning his bumfork.