Design

DIY Knife Makers Are Getting Sharp on Instagram

These artisans take being on the cutting edge literally.

by Giaco Furino
26 November 2015, 1:10pm

A VORN Knife, created by Brandon Allen. Image courtesy of the artist.

While plenty of people use Instagram to post selfies, look at pictures of food, and generate hilarious cat memes, there’s a whole subculture of makers on Instagram using the app to promote their work. We came across some knife makers and were intrigued by how these artisans are using the social platform to sell their wares. From daggers to kitchen utensils, there's a world out there, so The Creators Project got a slice of it. 

Brandon Allen of VORN Knives says he got his start making knives after a childhood obsession with them. Now his work blends traditional knife making with an almost steampunk flare. “As I got older,” Brandon explains, “I learned woodworking, leather work, basic metalworking... these skills act as a great foundation to knife making.” 

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A VORN Knife, created by Brandon Allen. Image courtesy of the artist.

“Most of my knife sales are via IG. I post photos of what I'm working on and that generates interest and inquiries. IG is a great fit for showcasing my work,” says Allen. There’s a tight-knit knife community on Instagram full of collectors, enthusiasts, and other knife makers. He continues, "The community’s brought together by social media and supported by people hungry for unique, authentic, hand-made quality products. These people will seek out these knives and spend 10-20 times more on them than they'd spend on a factory import knife you'd find at a chain retailer.”

Philadelphia-based Fred Frederick, of FF Knives, is fairly new to the knife-making game, but he’s already seen a lot of success thanks to his Instagram presence. “My business is the smallest of the small, and even though I have a great website that’s easy to update, I’m not super tech savvy. So with Instagram I can easily and constantly update it. I feel like I get a ton of sales by constantly reminding people that I exist. And just the fact that people can comment and tag a friend? That’s huge for my business.”

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New knives on cooler display from FF Knives, created by Fred Frederick. Image courtesy of the artist.

He describes his work as “less-leaning toward the tactical end, and more striving to be an art object.” The craft work does have a balanced elegance to it, and thoughtful eye toward design. But Frederick says Instagram isn’t necessarily a fountain of creativity, “everybody wants to make the same stuff… and I don’t get it. There are a lot of people coming at it from a genuine place… but there’s also a lot of cookie-cutter bullshit out there.”

Next, we spoke with the laid-back Dave Hill of Earthcrack Knives. Hill sums up the look and feel of his knives with one word: “Handmade. When you see my work you know it was made by hand, and not machines and stuff like that.” With over 3,000 followers, he finds Instagram a great outlet for a multitude of reasons. “It’s pretty much the only social media I participate in," he explains. "It’s incredible because I get to show my work, my knives to anyone who wants to come by and take a look. Not only are people there to buy, they’re also there to look. A lot of people take a lot of interest in the making of the knives. They want to see the whole thing, they want to see the hammer, the scale, how I put everything together. People like to be involved, and Instagram allows the customer to be involved with the maker.”

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A knife in-progress (and Fred Frederick’s feet), from the FF Knives Instagram. Image courtesy of the artist.

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A recurve knife from Earthcrack Knives, created by Dave Hill. Image courtesy of the artist.

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A spring being straightened before it’s cut and made into raw material for an Earthcrack Knife. Image courtesy of the artist.

Click to learn more about VORN Knives, FF Knives, and Earthcrack Knives.

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