Today I’d like to share a project that I have been working on for quite some time. Last year, I was posed the question “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I have never had an answer for that in my life and this time was no different. My mind blanked, but a single thought did come crashing into the void. I wanted to be more involved in the knife industry, and not just writing about it; I wanted blades of my own design to be on the market.
Exactly how I was to achieve that goal was, at the time, an unknown, but I knew with utter conviction that I wanted this. It would be cliché to call it a moment of clarity, but it was exactly that. With absolute certainty, I knew this is something I was meant to be doing.
It has been a lot of work thus far, slowly getting things off the ground while also working my day job, and continuing to write for TTAK. The hours of the day fill up quickly! I am proud to announce that I have officially formed my company – Nordsmith Knives – and my first design is in the process of being built.
The story of Nordsmith is the story of taking control of my life, and not just letting events happen to me, hence the tagline “Control Your Destiny.” The only way to find what you seek is to take matters into your own hands.
My first design is “The Canteen Knife” – so called because of its ability to handle both camping and kitchen chores very well. This is a design that I have been thinking about for years. Before this knife, on any given camping trip I would have a knife on my belt (who am I kidding, I would have several knives on my person!), but I would also have a chef knife along for the ride to handle food prep. I wanted a single knife that could handle my food prep desires, without giving up any capabilities on the camping and bushcraft front.
The Canteen Knife does just that. By crossing elements of one of my favorite patterns, the Nessmuk knife, with a little bit of santoku and a healthy dose of butcher knife, I wound up with a blade that is just as at home carving turkey as it is carving wood.
The edge offset and curved profile allows for rocking motions on a cutting board, and the angle of the handle allows you to choke back for better chopping leverage, whether you are hacking at branches, or blasting through bone like a meat cleaver.
I’ve been testing a prototype of this design for several months and its performance has exceeded even my expectations. I have done everything with this knife from a ton of food prep, a lot of fine carving, and a fair bit of choppy tasks as well. It even did a good job hacking down three-inch diameter bamboo on a recent trip. I’m looking forward to this knife getting out into the wild with all of you!
For more info on the knife, including full specs, click here.
I couldn’t be where I am now without the help and support of two people especially, and I want to take the opportunity to thank them publicly.
The first, is longtime friend of the blog, Mr. L.T. Wright. After having my “moment of clarity,” I paid him a visit. His encouragement was immediate and enthusiastic. He built the Canteen Knife prototype for me, and has also agreed to take on production for my designs. This is huge. As is well chronicled here, I’m a fan of the way he and his crew builds a knife. The knives coming out of his shop are bulletproof, and I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to build my designs.
For these, and a host of other behind the scenes reasons, I don’t think I will ever be able to thank L.T. enough for everything he has done for me. It goes without saying that if not for him, my path forward would have been considerably more difficult.
The other man I wish to thank is Ethan Becker. Having first met him at BLADE Show 2015, by the end of the weekend he had invited me and Clay to come visit him at his home and check out his knife collection – his “design reference library” as he calls it.
Most of you probably know that in addition to his knife line, he is also the current author/caretaker of the seminal Joy of Cooking cookbook. If anyone was going to understand both the Canteen Knife, and what I was trying to undertake, it was going to be him, so I made sure to reach out to him about this project.
I maintain that Ethan is the nicest guy in the knife industry, bar none. Over the past year I have had the pleasure of visiting his home on several occasions, and it would be impossible to quantify the amount of things I have learned just from being around him. The man is a font of knowledge on knife design. More than that, the fact that I can now call him a friend absolutely boggles my mind.
I’ll brag a little bit here. When Ethan got the chance to mess around with the Canteen Knife prototype, he had this to say. “Out of all the Nessie inspired designs that I have ever seen, this is the first one I have ever wanted to own… I would be perfectly happy having it in the woods as my only medium sized knife.”
Ethan and L.T., words are not enough, but thank you both.
What does this mean for my work here at TTAK? In fact, very little is going to change. The type of content I write about will continue to include reviews of folders and fixed blades. I have no intention of allowing my own interests take away from providing truthful, fair and honest assessments of other company’s products. If at any time I feel a conflict would keep me from telling the Truth About Knives, I will recuse myself and allow Clay or Jake to take the reigns on that particular item.
But back to Nordsmith. Initial availability is going to be limited to short runs as I grow into things. The Canteen Knife is almost ready for the pre-order to open, which will go out to subscribers of my newsletter first (you can sign up on my website, nordsmithknives.com) before the general public. After that, I have a couple other designs and protoypes in the works which will be announced as they become ready.
I would also appreciate any likes and follows from those of you on social media. You can find me at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at the following locations: facebook.com/nordsmithknives, twitter.com/nordsmithknives, and instagram.com/nordsmithknives.
How things ramp up from here will depend on a number of factors, but I am excited to see where this endeavor leads. I hope you’ll join me!
Preparation is control. Control your destiny with Nordsmith Knives.