Story by Joshua Swanagon – Photos by Sharp By Coop and KC Gray
In the category of handmade knives, folders are often some of the most eye-catching knives on the market.
I have been watching KC Gray Handmade Knives for some time now. I had intended to run him in my column in Knives Illustrated Magazine but resigned before I was able to make that happen. I am very glad that I now have this website and am finally able to share his work with you all.
KC Gray has a style that is very hard to simply scroll past, whether it is in an Instagram feed or flipping through the photography of Sharp By Coop. The striking visuals of his work are engaging and captivating, making the common passerby want to stop and pick one up (if only we could just grab one right off the screen).
Let’s take a closer look at KC Gray, his knives and his process.
1 A Young Start
Having been into knives as long as he can remember, KC got his first Swiss Army Knife at a young age and the fuse was lit. Having collected knives for years, he decided to begin making custom scales for his knives, eventually leading to making entire knives around 2014. In the 5 years since he began making knives, KC has turned this into a solid career.
2 Self-Taught Challenges
Being self-taught, KC finds his greatest challenges in trying to figure out certain different aspect of knife making. Trial and Error make the knife making process difficult at times, but he also sees that as half the fun.
3 Finding Inspiration
KC finds inspiration in the likes of the late, great Bob Lum, Bob Terzuola and Michael Walker. To look at their work, it is easy to see why.
4 Finding Favorites
Although KC does everything from tiny folders to short swords, as well as hunting knives to kitchen knives, his favorite knives to make are large folders with exotic handle materials. It is his work with exotic materials that make his knives so desireable.
5 It’s in the Materials
KC finds his favorite steel in Damascus, due to the unique and interesting patterns that can be achieved – each being much like a fingerprint. Currently KC does stock removal, so he looks to Vegas Forge for his Damascus, but he would like to take up forging some day and make his own Damascus.
To set off his designs, KC likes to use mammoth ivory, carbon fiber and ironwood for his handle materials. All of which are materials that complement the Damascus beautifully.
KC does take customer requests, but typically works on his own designs and makes them available for sale on his website. If you are looking for a custom job, or one of his regular models that is currently unavailable, you don’t have to worry because his typical wait time is a very short 4-6 weeks (depending on the knife design and his current workload).
Website: www.GrayHandmadeKnives.comInstagram: @KC_Gray_Knives
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Joshua Swanagon has studied survival in both urban and wilderness environments in Colorado and Michigan for most of his life, while also adding experience in harsher terrains abroad. He utilizes his experience and years of diverse martial arts and combatives training and real world application as a self-defense/combatives instructor, published freelance writer and Field Editor for various magazines in the fields of knives, survival, self-defense and tactical subject matters. Joshua also brings with him his years of experience as Editor of, and Subject Matter Expert for, Knives Illustrated Magazine.
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