5 From The Grinder with Karl B. Andersen, ABS Journeyman Smith

I am used to no one spelling my last name correctly. It’s the curse of my Norwegian ancestry. So naturally, while perusing the list of exhibitors at BLADE Show 2017, my eyes were drawn to one Andersen Forge. I’m glad I walked over, because the artistry of the knives that Karl Andersen had brought was fantastic to behold. Thankfully, I asked and he agreed to contribute to our 5 From The Grinder series. Without further ado…

First, in a few sentences, please introduce yourself and let us know what led you to making/designing knives.

I’m 63 this year. I’ve spent more than a half century being very, very active in the outdoors. Hunting, camping, fishing, remote exploring, etc. Knives are very important in those endeavors.

20 years ago I was looking for a new direction in my life and stumbled upon Blade Magazine. The rest is now history.

What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors? 

The single largest influence on my knife making is world-class knife maker and Damascus maker Jerry Rados. I discovered him living not 30 miles from me when I first began knife making. The knife making basics I learned from Jerry are applied to this day in my shop every time I open the door.

I’m an ABS-style maker and am influenced by my relationships with Lin Rhea and Don Hanson.

What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?

As a result of my friendship with Jerry Rados, any of my most used styles involve take-down construction. I was making take-down knives before the internet and the sharing of this information became mainstream.

My favorite knife style from history is the American Bowie and I appreciate how it has evolved in today’s knife knife world.

What is the next big thing in knifemaking? / What direction do you see the industry going?

Having just returned from this year’s BLADE Show, I can say it was the busiest show I’ve attended in over a decade. What I noticed the most was the large number of black shirt-ed/tatooed/back-packed-ed younger generation tactical knife buyer roaming through the ABS section. I’ve never seen than many of “them” over here. They’re looking for something new. They’ve been getting their itch scratched in ways we are all too familiar with for a number of years now. But with things like “Forged In Fire” and social media, other types of knives have been put in front of their face.

Their itch still needs to be scratched – and I think it’s Damascus Fighters/Bowies/etc.

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?

The two knives I most like making are take-down Andersen Forge Hunters and Cowboy Bowies of both my own Damascus and  stainless San-mai:

What is your EDC and why?

My EDC is a small black Micarta slip-joint I made during a weekend class in Minnesota at Keith Johnson’s place. It reminds me of good friends.

Thank you Karl for sharing your work with us! If you would like to see more, check out his links below.

Website: http://andersenforge.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/KarlBAndersen/videos


  1. Sam L. says:


  2. stuartb says:

    Yeah, wow! Just WOW!

  3. Sam L. says:

    If this is what he does as a Journeyman, how much better can they be when he’s a Master smith?

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5 From The Grinder with Karl B. Andersen, ABS Journeyman Smith

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