Johnson, K. R. (Keith)
I grew up in a farming community where everyone carried a pocket knife. All rural kids carried pocket knives to the one room country school I attended for 8 years. This started my fascination for traditional slipjoints. As a kid, I started making my own knives out of old hacksaw blades and files once I was tall enough to reach up to the bench grinder. After hand forging my very first ‘custom’ knife in my high school shop class, I knew I was someday going to be a knife maker.
I began blacksmithing full time in 1986. I started out with craft items and gradually worked into ornate architectural ironwork. Along with making railings, I’ve forged and heat treated lots of tools for my shop. Over the years I’ve made at least fifteen thousand throwing tomahawks and hundreds of knives and other tools for the fur trade re-enactors.
In 2004 I attended a demonstration by R.B. Johnson on liner lock folders. Afterwards, R.B. was kind enough to allow me to spend some time with him in his shop. He helped me build my first folding knife and I have been hooked ever since.
About the time I was getting out of the US Navy in 1973, I bought a Case Sodbuster Jr. I carried and used that knife for many years until the spring broke. Instead of sending it off to Case to have it repaired, I disassembled the knife and used it as the basis for my own rendition of this old pattern. Since that time I have built a collection of patterns and continue to add to the list.
I use CTS-XHP for my blades and back springs. All my knives are hollow ground on a 14″ wheel and are razor sharp. They always close dead center and have nice walk and talk. I use bronze pivot bushings whenever possible. The scales are made a variety of materials, bone, mastodon ivory, mother of pearl, Sambar stag, wood, G10, Micarta or any other natural or man-made material. All work is done in my shop from blank pieces of material.
My goal is to produce each and every knife with a fit and finish that both you and I can be proud of.