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Phil Boguszewski – Lakewood, Washington
Dr. Fred Carter – Wichita Falls, Texas
Born in 1940, Dr. Fred Carter has had a long-standing passion and interest in hand crafts and, in particular, knives. In 1973, while studying for a Ph.D. in Botany in Arizona, he admired a handmade knife by D’Alton Holder in a local knife shop. Inspired by this knife he decided to make hunting knives for himself and his father. These first knives were ground on a hard wheel and hand finished. Upon their completion Dr. Carter received an offer to purchase his knife, and this was the start of his career in knife making. Later he began working in a small shop in Scottsdale, Arizona, before moving to Texas. In 1976 Dr. Carter joined the Knifemakers Guild, in which he later served as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President, and two terms as President.
Dr. Carter has won many awards for his knives including the Cronk Award (1988, 1989) for best knife of the Knifemakers Guild show and the Beretta Award for craftsmanship. Since 1995 he has joined forces with the Gigand Co. Ltd. and the United Cutlery Corporation to design and market high-quality production knives. Dr. Carter has designed knives for the Harley-Davidson Co., Colt, and under his own Fred Carter brand. These include the design for the 100th anniversary knives for Harley-Davidson. Presently he continues to design production and handmade knives at his shop in Texas
Frank Centofante – Madisonville, Tennessee
Jeff Chaffee – Morris, Indiana
Jeff’s work has become very desirable to many top collectors and is recognized throughout the knifemaking community for its innovation, quality, and artistry. He is a Knifemakers Guildmember and specializes in Damascus folders.
Pat Crawford – West Memphis, Ar
Rick Dunkerley – Seeley Lake, Montana
Russell Easler – South Carolina
Allen Elishewitz – Canyon Lake, Texas
Allen was born in Irving, Texas, in 1967, the son of a gentleman involved in petroleum research, a profession that took the family to Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand during the boy’s developing years. Due to this experience, needless to say, he received a broad-based education. Interested in knives ever since he was a boy, Allen also took a liking to martial arts. For the past 20 years he has been engaged in Okinawan Te, Thai boxing, Northern Shaolin and Kali and spent some time in the Marine Corps in a Force Recon platoon.
But it was knives that always held his attention. He started making them part-time while in college, but soon after getting his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and an Associate Degree in Fine Arts, he decided to become a full-time knifemaker. This was in 1988, and constant research, refining and developing of techniques has brought him to the pinnacle of his career.
Relative to awards, Allen started off in 1985 when he won a 1st place award at the Asian Art Fair in Singapore with a five-color printing. His other skills include acid etching, printing, drawing and architectural drafting. Allen is one of the very few knifemakers who also makes one-of-a-kind handmade watches.
Awards received for his edged art are many, among them the “Beretta Award” (1995 Guild Show), Fighting Knife Magazine’s “Knifemaker of the Year” 1996, and “Best Hi-Tech Folding Knife” ( Paris 2001).
Like many talented makers, he has collaborated with several manufacturing companies. These include: Mission Knives, Benchmade Knife Company, Eickhorn-Soligen (Germany), Fox Cutlery (Italy), Columbia River Knife and Tool, and Masters of Defense. In 1994 he was one of the youngest professional knifemakers around and at the same time the youngest member of the prestigious Knifemakers Guild. Of equal importance is the fact that Allen works in a shop that is as clean as a hospital operating room. He works in an atmosphere that is absolutely immaculate; just like the knives he creates.
Jim Ence – Richfield, Utah
Jim was born in 1941, in Richfield, Utah, where he has spent his entire life. He grew up as a very inquisitive boy, always trying his hand at making something out of metal or wood. He made his first knife at the age of 9 out of an old car spring, thus beginning his life of knifemaking. He finished his education, served 6 years with the Army National Guard, got married, had two children, and went to work as a mine mechanic in a coal mine 3 miles underground. Now and then he made a hunting knife for a few chosen people.
In 1976 his friend Buster Warenski talked him into making a serious piece and attending a knife show with him in Las Vegas. That knife, a Bowie with an ebony handle, took the Best Fixed-Blade Knife award and Jim was hooked. Selling several knives at the 1977 Knifemakers Guild Show gave him the confidence he needed to continue making knives.
In 1978 he made a big decision, quitting his high-paying job to become a full-time knifemaker. His first years were difficult, but never gave up, realizing his life-long dream with the consent and encouragement of his family and friends. He loves trying new things, especially those most say cannot be done. He liked making exact replicas of Michael Price Bradford daggers and other California knives. He has also made several folding knives. Jim believes strongly in sole authorship, therefore everything is done by himself, from forging his own Damascus, to engraving, carving, gold work and creating his own designs. Jim also does carvings in wood, ivory and other natural materials, and would like to try working with bronze. He is a member of the Art Knife Invitational, an elite group of 25 knifemakers from around the world.
Aaron Frederick – West Liberty, Kentucky
Aaron is a young custom knifemaker whose workshop, Frederick Knives, is in West Liberty, Kentucky. He is presently an Ensign on active duty with the U.S. Navy Reserves. He began making custom knives in 1993, when he became a student of John W. Smith, his father in law. He is a member of the American Bladesmith Society and a full member of the Knifemakers’ Guild. His awards include Best Folder at the 2000 Oregon Knife Collectors Show and the Art Boggs Memorial Award at the 2003 Knifemakers’ Guild Show. He is well-known for his custom Damascus folders incorporating exotic handle materials such as ivory and pearl, file work, engraving, and gold fasteners. He has done design and collaborative work with Columbia River Knife and Tool and is a guildmember who plans to return to his knifemaking full time after his active duty is completed.
Stan Fujisaka – Kaneohe, Hawaii
Barry Gallagher – Lewistown, Montana
Ron Gaston - Woodruff, South Carolina
Ron is a retired Guildmember whose work has been highlighted in numerous articles and shows. He began knifemaking full time in the early 80’s and is known mainly for his fixed blades, although he did make some folders during his career. He has recently been having serious health problems which have forced him to retire from knifemaking. However, there has been a resurgence of interest in his work with pieces bringing premiums that he never saw during his career.
Koji Hara – Seki-City, Japan
A native of Japan, Koji Hara was born in 1949 in Imari City, and is one of the most traveled of Japanese knifemakers, attending shows throughout his home country as well as all over the United States and Europe. When he began making his first knives in 1988, they were his versions of Bob Loveless designs. Three years later he held a one-man knife show in Seki City, Japan, heart of the production cutlery industry. It was at this point in his career that he realized he had to make and sell knives of his own concept and design if he was going to succeed. In 1994 Koji had become a Probationary Member of the American Knifemakers Guild, and in 1997 a Voting Member. During this period he was participating in at least five American shows per year, and would soon be attending shows in Europe. Annually, this prolific maker attends two knife shows in Japan, in addition to having maybe two one-man shows, usually in smaller communities, where collectors don’t visit the larger cities. He feels these small shows enable more and more people to become familiar with custom knives. Furthermore, unlike most Japanese makers, Koji does not sell his knives in Japan through dealers and stores. These activities away from home force on him 15 hour work days when he is back in his workshop. He has received awards for his folders such as “Best in Show” and “Most Innovative” in several international knife shows.
Koji primarily uses a powdered stainless steel known as Cowry-Y, made by Daido Steel in Japan, for his blades. It holds an excellent cutting edge and polishes to a high mirror finish. Although one of the drawbacks of powdered steel is its weakness towards lateral impact, this can be corrected through proper heat-treating. Koji also makes knives featuring ATS-34, D-2, 440C and other steel blades, based on customer preference. His preferred method of making blades is via stock removal. A folder specialist, he often carves the handle material into a terraced landscape to feature his classic “Airstep” design.
William Henry Knives – McMinnville, Oregon
Matt Conable is senior designer and co-founder of William Henry Knives. He has been innovating his own distinctive style and techniques since age 19; his designs influencing a generation of knifemakers worldwide. Matt has been honored with fourteen separate awards for his pioneering works, including five Best-in-Show. His passion for excellence and precision has set a new standard of performance and beauty in the world of cutlery.
“In everything I do, I design and build to the limits of my imagination. The William Henry Collection is a hybrid between the traditional art of knifemaking and modern technology. I use only state-of-the-art alloys and premium natural materials in combinations that merge form with function to create pieces of enduring value. My studio works with some of the finest artisans in the world to build each piece, and a typical knife requires more than six months from concept to completion. The integration of various traditions, materials, and technologies allows me to create cutlery that is elegant, distinctive, and without peer in performance.” – Matt Conable.
Howard Hitchmough – Peterborough, New Hampshire
Born in 1942 in Kent, England, Howard Hitchmough completed his formal education and began working as an apprentice for a surgical instrument company in London, not realizing how his career path was being “cut out” for him. In those early days of his life, he was a keen deer hunter and, as such, required a good hunting knife. It was only natural that he would make his own. Howard made a trip to the United States in 1978, where he met the late Ted Devlet, one of the organizers of the New York Custom Knife Show. Howard claims that Ted “really opened my eyes to the world of custom knives” by showing him knives the likes of which he had never seen. On that same trip, Howard visited with Bob Loveless who demonstrated to him how the modern knife was being made. At that time, in England, it was almost impossible to obtain the necessary materials to make quality knives. Howard’s solution was to participate in several U. S. knife shows each year and purchase supplies and equipment while there. While being exposed to the high quality of work at these shows he became more determined to achieve similar results. As there was little written information on knife making available during those years, most of the required skills had to be learned by trial and error. Howard’s background in making surgical tools provided a good basis and, to further his knowledge, he attended classes in jewelry making, since he wanted to create artistic knives.
While attending a knife show in Switzerland in 1986, Howard was fortunate to meet an American collector, Virginia Lee Miller, who eventually became his wife. Today they life in rural New England where he has a well-equipped studio where he creates and produces the types of knives about which he once could only dream.
D’Alton Holder – Peoria, Arizona
D’Alton Holder was born in Heald, Texas, in 1940. He attended high school in Amarillo, Texas and then went on to West Texas State University, graduating with degrees in Art and English Literature and a minor in Science. His next 25 years were spent in sales for an oil company, before he retired early in 1988 to become a full-time knifemaker. It was during his oil career that D’Alton got involved with custom knives. Like many talented people, he had an enjoyable hobby, and his was – building custom guns. It was when one of his gun customers asked him to make a knife to go along with his gun that he found his real place in the world. That was in Denver, Colorado, back in 1966, and that knife brought him all of $8. D’Alton truly sensed he had found his calling a few years later, after being transferred to Phoeniz and meeting up with knifemakers Dan Dennehy and Don Wieler. Both of these early makers gladly shared ideas on equipment and construction techniques with D’Alton, and before he knew it, Dan invited him to join the Knifemakers Guild in July 1973 and attend their upcoming show in Kansas City, which he did. Three years later D’Alton was elected to the Guild’s Board of Directors at the Las Vegas Guild Show, followed by two 2-year terms as President of the Guild. During the past 30 years D’Alton has also been active in local Arizona makers and collectors associations. Needless to say, this very talented gentleman has been recognized by his peers in many ways, receiving numerous honors and awards over the years. In 2003 he was a Knifemaker’s Hall of Fame inductee.
D’Alton Holder, known commonly as D’Holder, or “Dee”, works in a spacious shop in Phoenix, Arizona, where his specialty is making fancy using knives and an occasional Bowie just to keep things in balance. Currently, more than 75 custom makers worldwide give Dee credit for being a strong influence on their artistry. He claims he got far more from them than they got from him. That’s probably true, as “students” often introduce design or construction elements the “teacher” never conceived of.
Joe Kious – Kerrville, Texas
Joe, Kious, born in San Antonio, Texas in 1945, is a retired schoolteacher who just “happens” to work full-time at making some very fine knives. Like a number of other artists, he began his career quite early in life, back in 1969 very shortly after graduation from college, and prior to beginning work as a public schoolteacher. He taught English, later History, and even Government at the secondary level, while putting in another 40+ hours per week, making knives on the side, what he called part-time. Finally, in 1980 Kious decided to make knife making his full-time occupation.
Having married in 1973, he is also the father of three fantastic children, all of whom are now adults, all on their way to professional careers in medicine, law and veterinary medicine.
This very talented maker clearly states that most of what he has learned in the past 37 years came through advice from other sharing knife makers, from trial and error, and from years of practical experience. Joe also claims that new ideas often come from customers who have had wonderful ideas of their own, as well as from his own experience as a hunter, shooter, and his love of the outdoors. Very important, he feels very fortunate to be able to make a living doing something for which he has such a passion, and even more so, to be able to create something that is lasting, beautiful, and collectible.
Tommy Lee – South Carolina
Claude Montjoy – Clinton, South Carolina
Warren Osborne – Waxahachie, Texas
W.D. Pease – Ewing, Kentucky
Randall Made Knives – Orlando, Florida
Bo Randall was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1909, and in 1916 moved to Orlando with his family. In 1936, while at his summer home in Michigan, he saw a man scraping the bottom of a boat with a very fine hand-made knife. The knife did not dull under steady use and Bo, intrigued by the tool, learned that it had been made by William Scagle, the grandfather of modern hand-forged knives, and that it was definitely not for sale. Bo came back to Orlando and determined to make one just as good. So, with a leaf spring from an old car and whatever tools he could find plus about 20 hours of hard work, he turned out the first Randall Knife. On a hunting trip not long after, a hunting partner admired it so much that Bo gave it to him. This happened repeatedly for the next four or five hunting trips, until he began to see the demand for a really well-made knife by hunters and sportsmen, and that started him off on what was to be his principal work for the rest of his life. His knives have become the best-known and most noted hand-made knives in the world. They have been mentioned both in novels and in histories and have been used extensively by hunters, soldiers, and Marines, flyers and sailors, generals and infantrymen no to mention astronauts, government agents, celebrities, statesmen and royalty, and they are prized by collectors.
His son Gary has picked up the mantle from his dad and if you order a knife directly from Randall today, you can expect about a five year wait.
Chris Reeve Knives – Boise, Idaho
Chris is a native of South Africa that started knifemaking because of his need of a good fixed blade while serving in the military. After making knives for more and more acquaintances, he started Chris Reeve Knives in 1984 with a full line of almost indestructible fixed blade models. With more and more growth and exports to the United States, the decision was made to move to Idaho in 1989.
In 1993, his prolific folder the sebenza was introduced. Since that time, the sebenza has garnered a reputation of being the toughest folder in the business. Along with innovation and design, Chris has won the Blade Manufacturing Quality award more times than any other knife company and continues to amaze the industry with his knives.
In 2001, the mnandi, meaning in Zulu “very nice” is truly a fitting representation of its name and opened the gentlemen’s folder market to Chris Reeve as well. Later, the Green Beret or “Yarborough” model and the Neil Roberts or “Warrior” model have brought Chris to the forefront of the military arena with his high quality, hard use pieces.
John W. Smith – West Liberty, Kentucky
John’s work is known throughout the knife world for its tremendous artistry. Although he also makes utility pieces, tactical pieces, and fixed blades, he is primarily known for his art folders. The frequent use of the best materials in his pieces and his flawless workmanship bring a highly desirable product. John is one of the few makers who have been invited to the prestigious Art Knife Invitational in San Diego that is only held every other year and is by invitation only. His work has been copied and imitated but rarely equaled. He is a true master of the art folder.
Ralph Smith – Taylors, South Carolina
Ken Steigerwalt – Orangeville, Pennsylvania
Strider Knives - California
Shane Taylor – Miles City, Montana
Born in 1962, in Montana, Shane started experimenting with Damascus at the age of 23 and has been hooked ever since. An ABS Mastersmith, specializing in Mosaic Damascus folders and bowies, he is also one of the founders of the Montana Knifemakers Association.
Brian Tighe – Ontario, Canada
Born in 1954 in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, Brian Tighe made his first folder in 1989, after making only a few fixed-bladed knives. With an extensive background in the Tool and Die trade and having completed four college courses in metallurgy, he has a solid foundation in design, construction and heat treating and also a member of the Knifemakers Guild. He also benefits greatly from his skills as a professional photographer, with a complete in-house color darkroom and studio. Many of his works have been published in “ Blade”, “Knives Illustrated”, “Tactical Knives”, and “American Handgunner” magazines, and www.bladesinternational.com online magazine. During all of these years he has constantly honed his skills, to the point where he is a quality custom knifemaker specializing in folding knives, both tactical and art, featuring liner lock mechanisms. Brian enjoys working in a variety of styles; as he finds the change challenging and refreshing. All his knives carry a distinctive Brian Tighe trademark, support important design features, utilize space age materials, and exotic blade steels. He prefers to employ a combination of high tech materials with high tech styling. The tactical models have titanium liners and bolsters, scales are of G10 or carbon fiber, and blade steels range from ATS-34, BG 42, CPM 440V, to CPM 420V. The art knives he produces have a combination of classic lines with a high-tech twist and a variety of scale materials, including exotic woods, mother of pearl and fossil ivory. He enjoys working with Damascus steels made by various bladesmiths and commercial Damascus makers, including mosaic and stainless Damascus. Recent collaborations with Columbia River Knife and Tool and Lone Wolf Knives Inc. have made his designs available to a much wider audience.