ABOUT THE MAKER
My personal philosophy is that we live in a world with a "throw-away" mentality. Things are made cheaply and not to last. I think this is a trend caused by a growing population and the advances of technology to manufacture cheap goods. Also, people are losing an appreciation for fine handmade goods. On the other hand, technology has brought us the internet, where people are able to freely share ideas on DIY (Do It Yourself). Video sites such as YouTube are full of information shared by craftsmen on how to make things yourself, often cheaply or without cost. I continually learn new techniques from other knifemakers, though I have been making knives since I was 18 years old! There also seems to be a trend in popularity for the trade and/or hobby of knifemaking. I never thought I'd live to see a "reality" TV show dedicated to pitting knifemakers against each other!
There is great satisfaction in making and using things that you have made with your own hands. It also gives you a personal legacy to pass down that will hopefully endure for generations. I love to be able to take raw materials and turn them into something useful and beautiful. I have handled knives that are over 150 years old, and are still functional because they were made with skill and patience, not machines. My father started me down the road of knifemaking, which for him was mostly a hobby, because he felt that commercializing his work would take the joy out of it. I find his maxim often true, as I develop an attachment to anything I spend many hours making, so it's hard to part with a lot of my knives!
I am a Utah native and have lived here all my life. I try to gather materials from nature to include in my knives, and to recycle as much as I can. I try to make my knives reflect the beauty and spirit of my state. For years, I made my knife blades out of old sawblades and files, as many beginning knifemakers do, since most often these things can be obtained at no cost. Now as a more experienced knifemaker, I want consistency and the highest quality possible in my knives. I use mostly 1095 high carbon steel for my outdoors knives. 1095 is a tried-and-true knifemaking steel, and makes knives that are tough, able to hold an edge, and are easy to sharpen in the field. I put either a special "bluing" finish on many of my knives (similar to the way guns are blued), or a light acid etch to help resist corrosion and give the knives an interesting patina.
To be able to keep up with demand, I try to offer only specific patterns that I design, rather than taking requests for custom knives. Still, each knife is unique with slight variations, and I try to use a wide range of handle materials and finishing styles that give every knife personality and uniqueness. Having said that, you can request a knife from my selection and ask for specific handle materials. If I have them in stock, I'm happy to customize the handles.
Each of my outdoors knives comes with a leather sheath that I make and stitch by hand. I use only vegetable-tanned leather with either a dyed or natural finish, covered with a protective sealant to protect against moisture and help the sheath hold its shape. Optionally, you can request a knife without a sheath and save $25 by using Coupon Code "NoSheath" when buying the knife online.
Thanks for visiting my site, and I hope you will become a customer of Utah Knife Works. I try to offer the best quality and service possible, and rely heavily on word of mouth to get my name out there.
Mark Russon, Maker
Utah Knife Works
Woods Crross, Utah