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 that is getting worse as the demands of a larger population overcome the luxury of having fine handmade goods that cost more. On the other hand, technology has brought us the internet, where people are able to freely share ideas on how to do things themselves. There has been a great revival of "do-it-yourselfers". Video sites such as YouTube are full of information shared by craftsman on how to make things yourself, often cheaply or without cost. I continually learn new techniques from other knifemakers. There also seems to be a trend in popularity for the trade and/or hobby of knifemaking. I never thought I'd 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 may 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! But I love every minute of the time I spend making 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, and have my designs laser-cut. 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 a special "bluing" finish on many of my knives (similar to the way guns are blued) to help resist corrosion and give the knives an interesting patina.
To be able to keep up with demand, I offer only specific patterns that I design. 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.
Each of my outdoors knives comes with a leather sheath that I make and stitch by hand. I tend to use a lightweight vegetable-tanned leather for my Pocket Carry knives, and heavier dyed leathers in browns and black for my larger knives.
Thanks for checking out 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