We have reached the point in human existence where we expect our phones to do everything for us. They tell us what the weather is, who we should date, and when our flies are down. Men used to know how to do things. Now they ask Siri. If you need proof, just try leaving your phone at home when you go to work one day and count the number of times you instinctively reach for it. It can be a hopeless feeling, sadly.
Yet for all the utility our smartphones provide, there are still plenty of jobs that they are the wrong tool for. Those jobs tend to involve real-life shit. You can’t BBQ a steak with your phone. You can’t screw in a Philips head with your phone. And you can’t cut a rope with your phone. That’s why we still need purpose-built tools.
Of those, few are more important than a knife. (Insert mandatory link to Crocodile Dundee’s “That’s not a knife” scene.) It’s one of those tools (don’t you dare call it a “device”) that you never realize how much you need until you carry one on an everyday basis. From tiny pen knives to larger fixed blades, a knife does stuff, the kind of manual work that is rapidly disappearing from everyday life but which still provides a sense of accomplishment and focus that no app can match. In this day and age, there are few greater satisfactions a man can have than actually doing stuff.
The same attention to detail that you pay to the tasks at hand should also be paid to the knife itself. It’s easy to find a faceless blade that is stamped out by a machine. But wouldn’t you rather use one that was crafted by someone who also loves to use his hands to create and produces knives that are a beautiful marriage of function and form? If you’re the kind of person who can appreciate that, then these knife makers have something for you.
Bloodroot co-founder Luke Snyder’s father worked as a blacksmith and woodworker on a historical farm and imparted his knowledge to Luke, whose love hunting, fishing, and the outdoors led him to create knives. He eventually started Bloodroot with David Von Wyk in Georgia and the duo produce beautiful knives that incorporate recycled, personal, and local materials without sacrificing the integrity of the blades themselves.
It’s easy to get caught staring at William Henry’s pocket knives. Calling them works of art is not an understatement. Founded by Matt Conable, William Henry crafts knives using techniques and materials rarely seen in knives. Want a knife wih woolly mammoth tusk in the handle? William Henry can do that.
Murray Carter traveled to Japan when he was 18 to pursue his interest in karate and ended up apprenticing with a 16th generation bladesmith. Eventually, Carter became the 17th bladesmith in that lineage, the first Caucasian to do so. In 2005, Carter returned to the U.S. and settled in Oregon where he continues to create exquisite knives using traditional techniques.
If you’ve eaten at a great restaurant in Houston, it’s a good bet that Russell Montrgomery of Serenity made the chef’s knife. But his range of blades also includes utility and hunting knives. A student in Japanese bladesmith techniques, Montgomery designs knives that are designed to cut smoothly and easily first and foremost. It just happens that the knives look great too.
Out of a small workshop in his garage, Ron Lake went on to become one of the most renowned knife makers, eventually earning a spot in the Cutlery Hall Of Fame. While his knives are prized for their beauty and clean lines, they are also technical marvels featuring many innovations that Lake invented and patented. Lake no longer takes orders for custom knives, so the ones that are out there can cost five figures. And they’re worth every penny.