Custom Knife Makers

April 13, 2023
custom knife makers

Who is the world’s best knife maker?

From time to time, you may cast a glance at a knife and immediately realize this is the genuine art! Such knives are crafted out of rare materials, adorned with amazing scrimshaw or hand engraving. Such a knife will hardly be used in household or in the hunting field – they are purely collection items.

Some of such knives to regarded as an investment, not just an ordinary purchase. These unique knives have been made by the best knife makers in the world, and many of them have introduced some innovations in the knifemaking process. Here we will focus on some knives made by the world’s best custom knife makers.

custom knife makers

Alain Miville-Deschênes

Quebec, Canada

Alain was familiar with knives at an early age, when he used them for camping and hunting. He also began collecting knives as a young boy. In 1999, he decided to try manual work as a change from his computer artist job, and chose knifemaking. Alain self-taught himself into knifemaking with the help of books, magazines and the Internet. He still likes to learn and experiment with new things, techniques and designs. Alain creates various knives of many styles: hunting knives, tactical knives, neck knives, folders and art knives. He likes to use natural materials, such as wood-burl, antler and ivory and employs metal working, soldering, sculpture, jewelry, leather work and more. 

Alain Miville Desche nes knives

Antonio Montejano Nieto

Albacete, Spain

Antonio began to etch and engrave knives at the age of 21, under the tutelage of his Master Engraver father. He received the honorific title of Master Artisan in 2000. Along with traditional etching and engraving artisan techniques, Antonio uses some new methods he has developed or improved on his own. He also employs the techniques of the goldsmith. Antonio has been awarded many prizes at cutlery competitions in Spain. Antonio’s knives are inspired by classic styles such as Gothic, Renaissance and Art Nouveau. 

Antonio Montejano Nieto knife

Audra Draper

Riverton (WY), USA 

In 1992, Audra began working and apprenticing with Ed Fowler, American Bladesmith Society Master Bladesmith. In 1996, Audra received her Journeyman Smith rating, and soon built her own workshop. In 2000, Audra became the first woman to receive her Mastersmith rating from the American Bladesmith Society. Her husband Mike began making knives full-time in 2000, and the whole family got involved in the designing and crafting of knives. 

Audra Draper knives

handmade custom knives

David Brodziak 

Albany, Australia 

David started making knives in 1989 and became a full-time knifemaker in 1993. After meeting artist Carol Ann O’Connor in 1999, they started making knives with medieval and fantasy themes. The combination of Bill’s knives and Carol’s art was successful right from the start, with several best art knife awards won in the first year. Bill’s knives are unique and have been sold to collectors in different countries.  

David Brodziak knives


West Virginia, USA

Dellana was immensely creative already as a teenager: she would make her own clothes, draw, and paint, embroider, and even create things from scratch. In 1979, she started her own goldsmithing business. When Dellana met master knifemaker Jim Schmidt, she was intrigued with the beautiful art of making art knives. By 1996, Dellana became a full-time knifemaker, incorporating her background in jewelry with her fascination with knives. Soon she became a voting member of the Knifemakers Guild, a member of the American Bladesmith Society and of the prestigious Art Knife Invitational group. Dellana has produced many amazing knives, forging her own Damascus steel and doing engraving herself. 

Dellana knives

Don Cowles

Royal Oak (MI), USA

Don made his first knife in the sixties, and ever since has had a lifelong fascination with knives. He got serious about knifemaking in 1994, when he started buying professional equipment. In the nineties, Don self-taught himself into knifemaking with the help of the “Knife List” Internet forum, and still acknowledges a debt of gratitude to its many participants. He pursued his own visions of personal cutlery and developed a style that is uniquely his own. Don is a member of the Miniature Knifemakers Society and contributes as moderator to online knife forums. 

Don Cowles knives

Dr. Fred Carter

Texas, USA

Fred has had a long-standing passion for hand crafts and, especially, knives. In 1973, inspired by a handmade knife he saw in a local knife shop, he decided to start crafting hunting knives. Fred ground his first knives on a hard wheel and hand-finished them, before building a small shop for his hobby. In 1976, Fred 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 hand-made knives. 

Dr. Fred Carter knives

Gaétan Beauchamp

Stoneham, Canada

Gaétan has been making custom knives for over twenty years and has become an expert in many aspects of this craft. A talented artist, Gaétan has gained international fame for his scrimshaw that makes each of his knives a work of art. However, while customized and beautifully adorned, Beauchamp’s knives are truly made to be used: function is their essence. Each knife performs smoothly in a multitude of functions: hunting, fishing, even opening boxes or cutting string. Living in Quebec, the cradle of French civilization in North America, Gaétan strives to preserve the culture and identity of French craftsmen and is independent in terms of ideas and designs. 

Gaetan Beauchamp knives

art knives

George E. Dailey

Massachusetts, USA

George has had an affinity for the fine arts since his youth. His favorite pastimes included visiting museums, drawing and painting. He felt at an early age that creative handiwork was his calling. After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design in 1973, he taught art and leatherwork. He also made custom leather sheaths for knives brought to his shop, and thus was introduced to hand-made knives, which he quickly learned to love. After taking a course at The Jewellery Institute, George continued to master his knifemaking skills and soon switched to art folders. His rich experience in many artistic skills has resulted in him concentrating on designing and creating unique art folders. 

George Dailey knives

Glenn Waters

Hirosaki City, Japan

Born in Australia, Glenn has been living in Japan since 1986 and has drawn a lot of inspiration from this nation’s culture. In 1992, when looking for a custom knife in Tokyo, he instead bought some tools and materials along with a book on knifemaking. Glenn started with making fixed blade knives, and by 1999 started creating Linerlock folders, which became his focus. His background in jewelry resulted in him adding lavish embellishments to his knives. Glenn uses rare materials, such as mammoth ivory, mother-of-pearl, gold and precious stones for his unique knives. 

Glenn Waters knives

Harumi Hirayama

Saitama, Japan

When studying industrial design at the Tama Art University, Harumi developed a fascination for knives. Her final design project for college was a set of custom kitchen knives. At the age of 21, Harumi was already a designer and maker of knives, with a high esteem for her skillfully hand-made products. She designed both fixed blades and folding knives, all of which were unique and one-of-a-kind. After qualifying for membership in the Knifemakers Guild, Harumi exhibited her knives at various shows and earned significant awards testifying to her skills. 

Harumi Hirayama knives

Henry H. Frank

Oregon, USA

By the age of 30, Henry was working as a design engineer, devoting his spare time to artistic pursuits, such as painting, woodcarving, stained glass art, jewelry making, gun engraving and gunstock carving. He also started crafting knives embellished with hand engraving. Soon he resigned his engineering job and became a full-time knife maker and a member of the Knifemakers Guild. Henry specializes in richly adorned and engraved, unique folding knives that are easily recognizable for their peculiar style. 

Henry H. Frank knives

custom daggers

Jerry Corbit

Kentucky, USA

Jerry has always been a fan of hunting, and the challenge of making his own hunting knife intrigued him. In 1991, he was given a piece of steel and a paperback book on knifemaking by a friend, and his knifemaking career began. Soon, Jerry met a few established custom knife makers living in his area and was introduced to folders, which became his new passion. After visiting some custom knife shows in 1994, Jerry started creating knives as pieces of art. In 1998, he joined the Knifemakers Guild. In his shop, located behind his home, Jerry performs every operation involved in creating knives with the exception of engraving and scrimshaw. 

Jerry Corbit knives

Jim and Joyce Minnick

Indiana, USA

Jim joined the Knifemakers Guild in 1978. Unable to find much literature on knifemaking, he visited local knife shops to study custom knives. He also gathered knowledge from area knifemakers he became acquainted with. With a background in art, Joyce switched from painting to embellishing knives easily. With most of her engraving and carving leaning towards Art Nouveau, she possesses her own distinctive style. Jim and Joyce are happy to work together crafting some truly distinctive knives. Jim’s focus is on folding knives, although he still has a passion for daggers and fighters. 

Jim and Joyce Minnick knives

Johan Gustaffson

Kimstad, Sweden

Johan’s fascination for knifemaking started out when he decided to make a knife to carry on a hunt. Liking what he had created, he began making more and more knives. After taking some classes and studying forge welding, Johan got totally hooked. For a couple of years, he would forge blades for other knifemakers to use in their knives. After discovering Mosaic Damascus, he experimented for many months until finally achieved his own technique with extraordinary patterns. While forging amazing mosaic Damascus blades for other makers, Johan crafts his own knives in his workshop, thoroughly controlling every aspect of his art, including file work and inlays. 

Johan Gustaffson knives

Jurgen Steinau

Berlin, Germany

Jurgen create his first knife at the age of 14, as a member of a metal-craft club. After completing a 3-year apprenticeship as a silversmith, he studied metal design at an art university. Jurgen made his first folding knife the same year he graduated, showing his rich background in sculpture, art and metal design. Even his first knives were true sculptures in steel, lavishly adorned with exotic materials. After starting to attend exhibitions worldwide in 1989, Jurgen became famous for his knife art that was sometimes difficult to comprehend even for seasoned knifemakers. Jurgen has received many awards for his unique knives. 

Jurgen Steinau knife

Kaj Embretsen

Edsbyn, Sweden

Kaj had made a few traditional Scandinavian knives by the time he was 20. Soon, Kaj was taught to forge blades by an old smith, and, at the age of 26, Kaj started his career as a full-time knifemaker. Soon, he began making all kinds of knives: hunters, daggers and fighting knives. Kaj has attended many knife shows in the USA, France, Italy and Japan. His focus is on lockback and slip-joint folding knives, but he also enjoys making multi-blade folders and daggers. 

Kaj Embretsen knives

custom knives

Heather and Kevin Harvey

Belfast, South Africa 

Kevin began knifemaking at the age of 12, tutored by his granddad. At the age of 21, he was the youngest member accepted into the Knifemakers’ Guild of Southern Africa. In 2003, Kevin became a Master Bladesmith with the American Bladesmith Society. He enjoys making art knives, Bowie knives and daggers using his own Damascus or that made by his wife Heather. Heather qualified as a farrier at the Montana State University, USA, in 1983. She is South Africa’s first qualified female farrier, blacksmith and bladesmith. After meeting Kevin, Heather learned to create knives. She enjoys forging Damascus, traditional African weapons and making forged period knives. 

Kevin Harvey knives

Michael Jankowsky

Berlin, Germany

The son of a forester, Michael grew up close to the forest and game hunting. He began collecting knives as a youth and later finished his training as a cabinet-maker. With his knife collection growing, he soon discovered an interest in knife making. In 1997, Michael filed his first knife. He specializes in making integral knives, but also enjoys crafting other types of knives. Since 2000, Michael is a member of the German Knife Makers Guild. 

Michael Jankowsky knives

Ray and Ron Appleton

Texas, USA

Ray’s many-years career in tool and die making resulted in his interest in knives. He made his first knife in 1984, after accepting a bet from a local Colorado knife maker, to prove that he would create a better knife than anything in a magazine they were looking through. In 1986, Ray’s son Ron convinced him to show his knives at the Solvang Custom Knife Show. Ron is in many ways as headstrong and independent as his dad. They both have collaborated on many knife projects, creating intricate and unique folding knives. 

Ron Appleton Knives

Steve Hoel

Texas, USA

Steve grew up surrounded by various tools available to follow his interests. His family included wood carvers, cabinet makers and mechanics, and there were blacksmiths, silversmiths and lapidaries in his surroundings. After receiving training in engineering and metal work, Steve shaped his first knife by hand with files tools. He was exposed to high-quality hand-made knives in 1974 when visiting the shop of Bob Loveless and Steve R. Johnson. The visit gave him a big boost and resulted in him developing a fascination with folding knives. Soon he created his first interframe and multiblade folders. Specializing in high-end interframe folders, every Steve’s knife, richly embellished with engraving and gold inlays, is a collectible piece of art. 

Steve Hoel knife

Steve R. Johnson

Manti (UT), USA

Steve grew up at his father’s farm where he had the opportunity to hunt, fish, ride horses and camp. He was first given the opportunity to make a knife in a shop when a scout. Knifemaking became Steve’s lifetime passion, and he has always enjoyed the personal challenge of making each knife. Steve has served as Secretary/Treasurer on the Knifemakers’ Guild Board of Directors and is associated with many members of the Guild and the knifemaking community worldwide. 

Steve R. Johnson knife

mosaic damascus knives

Thomas Haslinger

Calgary, Canada

Thomas made his first knife and his first sword in his early teens. A European-trained chef for over two decades, he has been involved in knifemaking part-time. In 2000, Thomas became a full-time knifemaker. His knife art embraces many styles, from daily used chef’s knives to highly exquisite art pieces. Thomas each time strives to use a design and a combination of materials that would make a knife graceful, yet functional: even a most intricate design never compromises service properties. 

Thomas Haslinger knives

Tim Herman

Kansas, USA

Tim custom painted show cars, produced gold leaf signs and worked as an illustrator, when a teenager. After reading a book on custom knives and attending a Knifemakers Guild show, knives hooked him. Starting with a primitive lathe, he created knives arduously for several years, as he wanted to be a Guild member. A local maker introduced him to lockback folder construction, and Tim decided folders are practical and worthy. Having learned from Steve Hoel, Buster Warenski, Wolfgang Loerchner and other master knifemakers, Tim is still grateful to them for the skills necessary to produce a fine knife. Tim spent years mastering his techniques to create magnificent folders of his own design. 

Tim Herman knives

Todd Begg

Spanaway (WA), USA

Todd spent much of his younger years in the deep forests of the Pacific Northwest, camping and hunting. Knives were his companions most of the time, and he naturally developed an appreciation for them. Todd tried making knives while still in high school and realized he had found his passion. Todd became a full-time knifemaker in 2003. Inspired by the grinding skills of Bob Lum and Bill Luckett and the Integral construction of Edmund Davidson and Ted Dowell, Todd developed his own style of integral knives. 

Todd Begg knives

Van Barnett

West Virginia, USA

Van started making knives full-time after graduating from high school, at the age of 17. A self-taught knifemaker, Van has also tried other mediums to express his creativity, as a painter, a sculptor and a carver. Van’s knives are very artistic, with flowing designs and unique looks. Van believes strongly in sole authorship, therefore, every aspect of each knife is done by himself alone, from designing to forging his own Damascus, engraving, carving, and gold-work. Van strives to craft each of his high-end art knives truly unique and one-of-a-kind. 

Van Barnett knives

William (Bill) Burger

Bethlehem, South Africa

Bill started studying knifemaking under the guidance of Owen Wood. The benchmark set by the famous master became Bill’s inspiration. Years of experience in his capacity as a professional photographer resulted in him crafting knives that reflect his distinctive personal style. Bill believes that knifemakers are not there only to please customers, but are dedicated artists in their own right, expressing their artistic vision. 

William L. Burger knife

custom hunting knives


Custom knife makers are artists and craftsmen who create unique and functional blades for various purposes. Whether you are looking for a hunting knife, a kitchen knife, a tactical knife, or a collector’s piece, you can find a custom knife maker who can meet your needs and preferences. Custom knives are not only beautiful and durable, but also have a personal touch and a story behind them.

If you are interested in buying or learning more about custom knives, we invite you to visit our website and browse our selection of handmade knives from some of the best custom knife makers in the world. You can also contact us if you have any questions or requests. We are passionate about custom knives and we would love to help you find your ideal knife. Don’t miss this opportunity to own a one-of-a-kind blade that will last you a lifetime. Shop now and get a fast DHL shipping on your order.

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