Jake Middleton is a frequent TTAK reader and occasional contributor both in comments and content. He is also the purveyor of the aptly named RuggedAmericanGear.com where reviews tools and gear that have stayed true to the Made In the USA ideal. He recently visited Matthew Lesniewski, a knifemaker in upstate NY who is best known for his hand-forged Kephart and other hunting knives.
“I recently discovered that I had one of THE premiere knife makers right in my backyard and didn’t even know it. I’ve seen Matt’s knives before, but never realized he was less than an hour away from me. I reached out to Matt to see if I could come talk knives with him at his shop, meet his family, and check out his product…
…MLKnives got its start 15 years ago, the way that many small businesses get their start, from his home. Matt began making knives as a hobby and selling them on Ebay, one at a time for $30-$40. As his skill grew, so too did the demand for his product. 15 years later ML-knives has a 12 month waiting list and a product lineup of a dozen or so different designs.
Mlknives claim to fame though, is their Kephart style outdoor blades. Named after Horace Kephart, the knife style comes in between 3-5 inches in length ending in a spear point tip, and usually are about 1/8 inch thick spine. They are the quintessential camp/outdoor knife, although plain in tacticool elements, they are beyond versatile, and can go from field dressing a deer with ease to batoning firewood.
Matt’s Kephart’s are made of 1095 steel, and are literally functional pieces of art.
Visit RuggedAmericanGear and read the whole thing.