SHOT Show Awesomeness: Meeting Ethan Becker.

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAG

Ethan Becker is a true Renaissance Man. His mother Marion edited the Joy Of Cooking cookbook for decades, and after attending the Cordon Bleu in Paris he took over the job in 1974. He’s also an avid outdoorsman and the inventor of the CMI Figure 8 mountain climbing descender. And a world-class knife designer.

By happy coincidence I happen to own The Joy Of Cooking, as well as a CMI Figure 8 descender and a Becker BK-9 knife. And yesterday I crowned this trifecta by meeting the man himself at the SHOT Show, getting his thoughts on the BK-9 and Portland’s Hawthorne Knife Shop, and buying a knife from him.

Before buying a D’Eskabar, I shamelessly pronounced myself a fan of his many works (which I am) and even showed him my short preview article of the BK-9 short sword I picked up a few months ago. I told him I had one major problem with the BK-9, which was that in my ordinary suburban life I couldn’t find a task big enough for it.

He confided that while some knives are ‘less than the sum of their parts’, he has always been particularly happy with how well the massive BK-9 turned out. He also confirmed a vague rumor that he is actually relocating to the Portland area, so there’s a better than even chance I’ll run into him again.

Mr. Becker is a truly gracious fellow, and I’m grateful to have met him. I know he’ll keep designing knives, and I hope our paths cross again after I can test a few more of them.


  1. Terry Warlock says:

    This is a neat update, I’ve got the warm fuzzies from reading it :3

  2. Aharon says:

    Chris, I’m glad that you got the chance to meet Ethan.

    I’m very happy with my BK5 and BK15 knives. They are improved with having the factory black coatings removed and then a vinegar soaking, the oem grips replaced with micarta scales, and kydex sheaths to replace the cheap sheaths provided by the maker Ka-Bar.

    1. Aharon says:

      Chris, get some pics of you, Ethan, and Jared having breakfast at Cameo.

  3. tbhride says:

    Very cool! Would love to meet Uncle Ethan one day.

    How do you like the D’Eskabar? Been thinking about buying one myself.

  4. Tom in Oregon says:

    Wow. Very cool. I really like my BK5. It really is hard to find a task that is too much for it.

  5. Chris Dumm says:

    The D’Eskabar is very neat, although I haven’t cut so much as an envelope open with it yet. It will need a bit of a sharpening, and I need to learn more about para cord wrapping. Ethan wears his with the handle wrapped in paracord cores, to give some grip without bulk.

  6. Mbuffo says:

    I just have to say that meeting Ethan would be way cool! I am learning more & more by reading blogs on different knives, and getting to meet a great designer would be epic.

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SHOT Show Awesomeness: Meeting Ethan Becker.

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