As most of you know, Derrick Bohn – owner of Knives Ship Free and Northwoods Cutlery passed away this week. As my own contact with Derrick was limited to a couple of emails, I was pleased that David stepped up to write a tribute that was far, far better than what I would have been able to. It was a much more fitting eulogy to a man whose generous reputation in the industry was well deserved. In the knife-related corners of the interwebs, other tributes have been pouring in. Before I get to those, I want to start with a statement from Derrick’s daughter Karis.
David touched on Derrick’s legacy when he mentioned the “Free Knives for Kids” promotion from a couple of years back. I am certain that first knife planted the seed in many children that will lead to a lifetime of love of knives. It is even entirely possible that one of those kids will someday be carrying a knife and encounter a situation where it may even save a life. That is an abstract possibility. I am not at all surprised to hear that in passing Derrick will quite literally be saving lives. There is definitely something wonderful about this.
Many others across the interwebs paid tribute to Derrick Bohn in articles and statements this week. Among the best was by Anthone Sculimbrene at Everyday Commentary:
“(L)ots of people are good businessmen. Derrick stood apart from others by his humanity. He spoke often and with passion about helping others. Whether it was his plan to get knives into the hands of kids or his support of a forge in Africa that helped villagers not just improve their tools, but improve their lives—Derrick genuinely cared about people. No better proof could be found than in the people that worked for him. Its not often that people move across country for retail employment, but some of the original Oregon KSF folks did just that. “
Read the whole piece. It is excellently written.
Bohn was behind the modern incarnation of the venerable Northwoods Knives brand. He purchased it from Founder Dave Shirley with the promise to maintain the company’s reputation for quality, US-made cutlery. Bohn turned the Northwoods name into a staple of the traditional and fixed blade knife categories.
He teamed up with partners like Bark River Knives and Great Eastern Cutlery to produce limited runs of high-performance, highly desirable models, many of which he designed himself. Today, the Northwoods brand also encompasses leather goods and a collection of kitchen cutlery.
As Alex at KnifeNews mentioned, Great Eastern Cutlery and Bark River Knives were two of the companies he contracted to produce his knives under the Northwoods label.
The various knife forums were full of stories of people whose lives Derrick had touched as well. BladeForums probably had the best.
Finally, a very modern-day legacy that Derrick leaves behind are the plethora of videos Derrick left behind on his YouTube Channel, including this one. (This references the now expired Free Knives for Kids program that has received so much attention)
You will be missed sir. I am sad that I did not get to know you better. It seems from the reactions of those that did, it was my loss to have not done so.
For those who missed David’s piece: