Story by Joshua Swanagon – Photos by Kimmi’s Cutlery and Caleb Royer
There is something about a father and son working together on a project that gets my attention.
Maybe it is the lack of a father in my own life, but when I see fathers that do things with their sons, I have an immediate respect for that and want to see them be successful at their endeavors. In a day and age where fathers are more and more absent, it is refreshing to see a dad and son taking a mutual interest in a hobby and working together to turn it into something real.
I usually give a maker a little time to establish themselves a little further before covering them, but when I heard that it was a father and son team, and they are putting out some nice-looking knives, I had to delve a little deeper. And, I figured if I was going to delve deeper for myself, I might as well share what I found with you.
Keep an eye on Kimmi’s Cutlery, because I think we will see great things from them in the coming future.
1 A Father Son Hobby
Having grown up in a family that always did their own butchering, Gene Kimmi has spent his life around knives – inspiring a fascination with cutlery. This eventually gave way to Gene’s desire to try his hand at making his own. When his son shared his interest, Gene began procuring the necessary equipment to start working together and produce knives. Gene’s son now joins him in the shop when he is home from college on breaks.
2 The Challenges of Time
Balancing his time between a full-time business and family, Gene finds difficulty in putting as much time in the shop as he would like. He also finds it hard to adequately price his products. Says Gene about pricing, “You have to be able to honestly critique your work and set a fair price for it.”
3 Finding Inspiration
Gene finds inspiration in the ABS and lists numerous excellent makers; such as Ed Caffrey, Karl Anderson, Shawn Ellis, Jerry Fisk, Steve Culver, Lin Rhea, Josh Fisher, John Doyle and many others.
Feeling that the heat treat is the most important part of a knife, Gene also finds inspiration is heat treat experts Kevin Cashen and Larrin Thomas.
4 Finding Favorites
Gene and his son really enjoy making hunting knives with a gut hook and find them to be their best sellers. Even though some makers don’t like gut hooks, Gene says after 30 years of using them he wouldn’t be without one.
When not making their gut hook design, they also like making knives with hidden tangs and a guard, usually in Damascus or San-Mai.
5 The Process
Although most of their work is stock removal, they do forge as well and like to forge Damascus or San-Mai. They will be getting a press this coming Spring and look forward to doing more forging.
6 It’s in the Materials
At the moment Gene and his son are really liking to work with AEB-L and use a lot of it when making kitchen and filet knives. When it comes to their Damascus, they prefer 1084 and 15N20, but also utilize 1075, 1095 and 52100.Having grown up in the wood business, Gene tends to lean towards wood for his handle scales; finding favorites in Koa, walnut and desert ironwood. When it comes to their kitchen knives, they like dyed maple burl. Although, from time to time you will find them using Kirinite.
All knives from Kimmi’s Cutlery are custom made, with no production models available as of yet. But they do have specific models that you can choose from out of their custom line, and they do take custom requests – if it is a design they are comfortable making.
Occasionally they will have some of their regular designs in stock, but if they don’t their waiting period is a short 1 – 3 months.
Instagram: @KimmisCutleryFacebook: @KimmisCutlery
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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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