As a kid, when knife maker Dylan Grace wasn’t out under the sun on the Florida beaches, you probably could’ve found him obsessing over Indiana Jones and MacGyver. He was totally enamored with these fictional adventurers – and although all he had was a small red swiss army knife, he liked to imagine that, “with just a knife and a paper clip I could solve any problem.”
While Dylan didn’t end up raiding tombs for long lost treasures or fashioning machine guns out of rubber bands and gum, those early influences would go on to dictate the design and aesthetic of the knives he makes – especially the Tanto Punch Knife. This distinct and brutal piece made specifically for everyday carry didn’t just come out of nowhere though.
Despite all of the admiration he had for well made tools – it wasn’t until just last year that Dylan Grace decided to start making some himself. He told HiConsumption that he wasn’t trying to set out and start a business for himself – he already works as a pastor at a congregation in Orlando – he just couldn’t find the kind of knives he wanted to own on the market. So over Christmas this last year, he “spent about a month planning, learning, and buying the most basic Harbor Freight tools so that I could make the kind of knives I wanted to make. Then I just went for it.”
As it turned out, a whole lot of people share Dylan’s taste in knives. After showing some to close friends and starting an Instagram account, requests started pouring in.
As he told us in our interview, the look he goes for is something that, “already looks like it’s generations old but also modern and fresh in the design.” That aesthetic, and Dylan’s early influences, can be seen plainly in his Tanto Punch Knife design. When he talked to us about the design process for this particular knife, he said he wanted to make something “small enough that you could carry it with you every day…but also substantial enough that you could really do work with it.”. As result, the family man and pastor took a blade design traditionally seen in Japanese swords worn by samurai and shrunk its entire profile by adding a handle with a finger hold in it.
This knife, like most all he makes, was made from quarter inch thick 01 tool steel. Dylan prefers this type of steel because of how long the high carbon percentage material will hold an edge. This particular steel does come with drawbacks – if not maintained it can rust more easily than other materials, but it gives him the ability to force an aged patina look that makes these stand out. Plus – all it takes to get rust off of your knife is some steel wool and good oiling.
For the handles on the Tanto Punch knives, Dylan has sourced wood everywhere from the hardwood floors of historic homes in East Nashville to purple heart wood from the deck of sailing ships in San Diego. Each has a story, and each one is unique, just like these handmade blades. You can purchase this punch knife and others like it directly from Dylan for prices starting around $230. [Purchase]
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