Gallery North Fine Art


Curtis Olson

I have been making knives on-and-off since 1978. I learned from some of the greats in knifemaking-Mike Leach in Michigan, Bill Moran in Maryland, Corbet Sigman in Virginia, and Keith Johnson and Roger Cook in Bemidji, Minnesota.

What interests me in custom (or handmade) knifemaking is the ability to use the best possible steels that hold an edge and are tougher than any steel in the history of mankind. That kind of possibility is very intriguing to me. And, the ability to do it in my own home with modern equipment is incredible.

I make full tapered tang hunting knives, usually with blades no longer than 4 inches. I lived in Fairbanks, Alaska for a year and made knives for that environment and learned that hunters there wanted no more length in a blade than 3 3/4 or 4 inches—anything more just gets in the way. I also make folding knives and knives of Damascus steel which I make using my forge and hydraulic press.

I am continually trying to upgrade my knifemaking abilities with new techniques and ideas. Knifemaking as an artistic activity is limited only by the imagination of the maker. However, as beautiful and attractive as custom knives are, my primary focus is the quality of the steel and its proper heat-treatment. Further, I believe in the adage, “Form follows Function”, so my knives are utilitarian as well as (hopefully) beautiful. It is my hope that they will be used hard in the field, on the campground, or in the home. Only in that way can a person realize the quality built into a custom knife.