Though I have been a devout knife collector since childhood, collecting mostly production knives and anything else I could find, I was unaware of the custom knife industry until 1989 when I saw an issue of Knives Illustrated at a local drug store. From there I found a local knife maker named Stan Fujisaka and begged him to teach me. I made my first knife in November 1991 and have continued the craft since.
While recovering from back surgery in 1996, I decided to try to design a folder that was easier to manipulate than what was available, and not a switchblade. The result was the first assisted opening knife I called “Speed Safe”.
After finding some information on the whole patent process and consultation from an attorney, I got my first patent, creating a whole new category of knives between manual and auto.
In 1998 I signed on with Kershaw Knives as their designer. Kershaw has grown substantially since. I now have roughly 36 patents on various items including locks, gadgetry, mechanisms, safeties, designs, as well as several trademarks. I travel on behalf of Kershaw to perform mini lectures and classes (teaching sales teams and retail cutlery stores about the differences in steel and their application as well as general knowledge about knives so that they can answer customer’s questions); and guide them in making a knowledgeable decision in a non-bias manner.
I teach knifemaking, foldermaking and advanced classes at my home to new makers, as well as experienced makers. I teach designing classes, business theory and strategy classes. I make knives for numerous celebrities including Steven Segal, Steven Tyler, Nicholas Cage, Johnny Popper, Kid Rock, Pamela Anderson, Wayne Newton, Tanya Metaksa, Wayne La Pierre, Ziggy Marley, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Aaron Nevel, and others who would rather remain anonymous. In an effort to gain public awareness of the custom and other knife arenas, involving celebrities help portrait knives in a positive fashion and help demoralize the public’s opinion of knives as well as help garner interest in making or collecting knives to a broader marketplace.
In 2002 I was inducted into Strathmore’s “Who’s Who” as a lifetime member as a distinguished inventor/entrepreneur. I have successfully matched knifemakers/designers to factories such as Buck, Gerber, Benchmade, Ontario, Kershaw, and others. I have helped numerous makers though the patent process to help them secure their inventions and ideas. I am a partner and co-owner of Timascus, a titanium damascus company. I am working with several companies and designed numerous belt sander attachments such as the “rotary flat patent” and “slack radiusing attachments” to name a few.
I started the mid-tech trend to create a category of knives in between custom and production, and hopefully have created some clarity in the marketplace. With Kershaw, we won two American Made Knife of the Year awards: 1) Best Buy and 2) Overall Knife of the Year. We have also won an European Knife of the Year award within my first five-year partnership. I have influenced a great surge of creativeness in both the custom and factory arenas. I co-designed super titanium alloys in the search for a new super titatnium blade material with Dynamet Technologies in Massachusetts (yet to be released). I invented and developed a pocket torch for military and other government agencies for use in underwater cutting and welding applications, breeching, escape and entry applications (not for public use).
I am currently developing and designing:
1. A ground breaking sharpening system
2. Micro surgery implements/tools
3. Personal grooming accessories
4. Kitchen knives and implements
5. Several knife related mechanisms/gadgets
I am currently working on a Federally and State recognized non-profit
organization called the “Onion Fund” whose objective is to:
1. Offer low to zero percent financing for knifemakers to help them with equipment purchases, and to help them reach their goals sooner.
2. To get a group medical, dental vision policy
3. Life insurance
4. Accidental death and dismemberment insurance
5. Umbrella policies
6. To assist in retirement planning
7. To offer business help where needed
We are trying
to help put a solid foundation under the custom knife arena to help protect an
otherwise fragile industry. Hopefully with a solid foundation, it will grow and
those involved can prosper without fear of injury or retirement. We will
have a Board of Directors as well as other volunteers to help make the best
decisions. This fund/organization will not discriminate on forged US stock
removal or incorporate other dividing lines or prejudice pertaining to who can
be a member or benefit from our menu of services. This is a completely
legitimate non-profit organization dependant on contributions and donations, all
of which are tax deductible. Although I did not name the organization “The Onion
Fund”, I am honored that through this fund, I can personally make a contribution
to the knife industry in a new way.
Website administered and maintained by Mitch Lum and Jeff Park