This edition of “5 From the Grinder” has us speaking with L.T. Wright, owner and proprietor of L.T. Wright Handcrafted Knives. I have had the pleasure of getting to know L.T. since I started writing for this site. It began with meeting him at a local gun show and led to my reviews of his GNS and Rogue River knives. I have since had the pleasure of camping with him and he is a great guy to be around. I am pleased to share his words with you today!
My name is L.T. Wright and I am the owner of L.T. Wright Knives. I have been interested in knives and used knives my entire life. I picked up a kit to make a knife one day and made it for my father for Christmas. He liked the knife so much he took it to work and showed it to his friends and they all placed an order for one. Those were my first orders and my first customers. From there, a passion, an idea was born.
What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors?
RW Wilson taught me everything I know about the knife industry and knife making. He used to let me ride with him to shows and he taught me how to sell knives. I would go over to his house as often as I could and he let me cut knives out and rough grind them. Greg Gottschalk has been a constant source of continued education. He taught me how to forge. He taught me how to make folding knives, all the ins and outs of folders. Greg is a machinist that helps us make jigs and hold downs for our shop grinders. Bruce Godlesky started me on my way to forging years ago by teaching me how to forge tomahawks. We would burn the handles out of balpeen hammers. We would heat them and beat them until we turned them into useable tomahawk heads. Bruce Gillespie gave me a lot of insight to design. He spent time with me teaching the ins and outs of heat treating. All of these craftsmen have taught me and inspired me.
What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?
How can you not love the Randall #1 and the Buck 110?! The design, I feel, that has the most utility is the Kephart style knife. You can see the influence on design the Kephart knife has had on our knives. It has an incredible amount of utility. Many of our bushcrafting models are modeled after the Kephart.
What is the next big thing in knifemaking? / What direction do you see the industry going?
I see an advancement in materials. There are only so many ways to design a blade and handle. I see an ever present drive for new and better steels as well as more durable and interesting handle materials. I think we will see super steels with increased durability paired with interesting hand materials. Because of social media and forums, the public expects more out of the average knife and maker. Our knives are not only seen by the local market anymore. The world has opened up to us with the use of social media, forums, and YouTube.
Is there a knife from your lineup that you feel best exhibits who you are as a knifemaker/designer in terms of design elements, aesthetic or techniques used?
Our Next Gen. This, to me, is the most useable size knife. It incorporates great steel with multiple handle hold positions. The thumb scallops provide a great grip. The D2 steel offers great edge retention. I really see this as the everyman’s every day knife. It is simple in design, comfortable in the hand, and it performs well.
What is your EDC and why?
This year I have been carrying the Next Gen. That is the knife I have decided to carry EDC this year. The moment we did the prototype I felt I had to carry this knife. It is the perfect size knife for the every day chores I need it for. I carry a different knife every year. I do this to try out a new design. Or, I carry a design that’s already been out for a while to make sure they are still performing well when it comes to long-term usability, durability, and wearability. I need to make sure that the knife and sheath are still performing the way were intended to.