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Semper Sharp

Knives Built to Last a Lifetime

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Semper Sharp

We are a husband and wife who run a small knife making shop in Alaska. We strive to make functional knives that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. We make high-end knives that are built to perform in their specific environment. We are constantly putting our knives to the test. We love to use historic fossils from Alaska in our work.

I have been raised around knives. My grandfather was a knife maker and collector. Growing up he was my next-door neighbor. I use to spend a lot of time at his house watching him work with all different types of materials to create knives. It was one of the things I can vividly remember from my childhood. When I was around 16 years old I had a couple of buddies get me into bow hunting whitetail deer and turkey. I fell in love with the outdoors. I mean really fell in love. I remember recovering from hernia surgery in a box stand in the middle of December. It did not matter to me that the conditions were less than optimal; I wanted to be in the woods not at home on the couch.

When I was 18 or so I went to Culinary School in Chicago. Once again I was thrown into a life that depended on sharp knives. I did not care much for working in kitchens. I realized that people in the culinary industry work when everyone else is playing and having fun (nights and weekends). Some of the things I took away from culinary school were how important different blades are in making chefs successful. There are 5 or 6 knives that they use every day. I found it very interesting that some chefs bring their knives to work with them and when they leave they take them home, similar to a construction worker who brings his belt to and from work with all of his framing tools.

When I decided to give up on cooking, I moved back home to Central Illinois. My uncle got me a job as a welder. I welded Roll Over Protection Systems on John Deere Tractors. I had fun working with metal. I really liked welding and grinding on steel all day. I got comfortable, but then I needed to find something that was more important than welding. While welding one day I heard an advertisement on the radio for the Marine Corps. It said something along the lines of Marines were in need of recruits, they wanted to grow the numbers to help support the war efforts. That was it I had found my calling. I literally went straight to the local recruiter’s office and signed up that very day. I came home and told my parents then I was off to boot camp a few weeks later. People called me crazy, but I just knew I needed to go.

Throughout my 8 years in the Marine Corps, I used knives daily. I understand how tactical blades need to work. They need to take a beating and retain an edge. I know I used knives to cut anything from MRE packages to copper communication wires when we would hastily remove them in emergencies. I still have a knife that arced off a power wire and blew half the cutting edge off. After an Afghanistan deployment, we received orders from North Carolina to Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Hawaii was awesome. We lived across the street from the golf course and just down the street from some great spearfishing. At this point, I had become a Marine Corps Instructor of Water Survival. I also swam as a kid but nothing on that level. I spent as much time in the water as possible. I was very fortunate to land in a battalion with some guys that were excellent spear-fisherman. They schooled me up quick, almost every day for a couple of years I was in the water spearfishing. Spearfishing is where I started to think about what makes a dive knife so important. For me, it was the materials. We fished saltwater I had a steel knife made from 1095 steel in a nylon sheath. I rinsed it with a hose daily but it rusted out quickly. I started to think about stainless steel and Kydex as a sheath. I went to dive shops and looked around on the Internet. There is certainly a market for these knives. Stainless is what divers wanted. I invested in a dive knife that could hold up under those conditions. I just felt better having it. Luckily, I never had to use it aside from cleaning fish when we forgot about our fillet knives. My time was coming to an end in Hawaii. I was up for another duty station.

So on a whim, my wife and our daughters jumped on a plane from Pearl Harbor to Alaska. They had space available so we came to visit Alaska. I knew it was the place for me as soon as we went to get our rental car. On the way, a couple of giant moose walked right in front of us. I was shocked by their size. We were in Alaska for only 72 hours and Haley had already secured a job nursing at the local hospital, we bought a house, and upon arriving back in Hawaii I submitted my paperwork to separate from the Marine Corps.

Our primary reason for leaving the Marine Corps was that we did not want to raise our girls with me being gone all the time training or on deployments. Also moving every three years is tough on kids. So we planted our roots here in Alaska and have never looked back. We have lived here for 7 years now. Outdoors in the Alaskan wilderness is totally different than anywhere else we have lived. Once you get off the road cell phone service is almost non-existent. Alaskans rely heavily on their gear. I shot my first moose a few years back. It took me 2 ½ hours to clean it. I had to stop to sharpen my knife multiple times before finishing. I started thinking then about making a knife that would keep an edge longer. A knife like that would speed up the process of cleaning such a big animal.

Dip netting for salmon is an adventure let me tell you! There is nothing quite like it that I have ever experienced. Our family of four is allowed to take 55 salmon out of the Kenai River annually. The first time we hauled in that many fish was surreal. I remember stopping to sharpen my knife after every fish. Nothing compares to having a blade that will stay sharp. I grew very frustrated with my fillet knife. Then I realized it is not the amount of fish that I am cleaning, but the material of the knife I am using that is to blame. So this entire story leads up to about 3 years ago. My dad sent me a package with some of my grandfather’s knife making materials. My grandfather passed away around the time I was in culinary school in Chicago. I remember opening the box my dad sent me thinking of all the memories I had with grandpa and his knives.

I started messing around with the steel blanks he had there and made a couple of knives from his materials. I did not have all the tools to complete it the way I intended so I started ordering them online. Before I knew it I had a complete knife making set up in my garage. I put some pictures of my work on social media and started getting orders. Here we are a few years down the road. We now have 3 employees and are making 25 knives a week. We have learned a lot along the way. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our knives. Please look through this site and our social media outlets for the methods we use, that make our knives what they are today.

Thank you for your interest, we hope for the opportunity to make you a custom knife or two. Check from our current inventory of available knives.

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