Ferrum Forge Knife Works is a small, family business based out of San Diego, CA specializing in knives. Born in 2009 out of Elliot's garage, a need for a better tool, and the power of brother teamwork, Ferrum Forge Knife Works is proud to be able to offer a variety of knives to carry everyday.
Brothers Behind the Blades
Here we are! We are Elliot and Chris Williamson and together we are Ferrum Forge Knife Works!
Elliot (left): The man that started it all and older brother. He's the artist and dreamer. The relentless researcher and enthusiastic experimenter. The carver of titanium and grinder of blades. The designer and brains behind Ferrum Forge.
Chris (right): He's the responsible, younger brother. The sayer of "No" and the conscience. The realist and the supporter. The design editor and anodizing specialist.
Somehow we make it work. Of course there is the usual brother bickering and heated "conversations" when we aren't seeing eye to eye, but we both come together over the shared goal of creating fantastic knives and constantly improving. We challenge each other and hold each other accountable at all times.
If you want the full story of Ferrum Forge Knife Works, keep reading...
We were destined for knives, but didn't know it...
Four years old! That's when we each got our first pocket knives. Our grandfathers determined that four was the proper age for us to get our first knives. What could go wrong...?
We started making things together in our grandfather's garage that was a wonderland of scrap materials and tools that we probably should not have been using as kids. Geared up with pocket knives, the imagination of children, our grandparents relaxed approach to supervision, and a garage of goodies, we started building "swords" and "knives" out of whatever we could find. Little did we know that twenty years later Elliot would forge his first real knife in the ancestral Williamson garage.
The Garage Years (2009-2013)
The early years are Elliot’s story. He started building his own knives in the garage as the result of free time and a very specific research paper about archaeometallurgy he wrote in his senior year at UCSD. At that point he had the thought that sent us on our path: “Wait, people have been making swords and knives for thousands of years. Why can’t I make my own?” So, he started learning the basic principles of metallurgy and forging his own blades. Truthfully, he was set on making swords, but turns out swords are pretty big and his hand built "forge” could not handle a sword. Knives it was and he never looked back.
The first knives he made were rough...to say the least. Elliot used any bit of steel he could get his hands on, heat up, and hit with a hammer, from files and saw blades to leaf springs and rebar. It's worth noting that Elliot has a tremendous ability to break anything and everything. It's truly impressive, but can get expensive. Armed with hands on experience, a thirst to understand the magic of steel, and a need to make a knife he couldn't break, Elliot embarked on a journey to learn the metallurgy and manufacturing techniques he needed to make a great knife.
At this point, knifemaking was just a fun new hobby that Elliot started, but that was about to change. He began mumbling into an old digital camera and posting videos of his knife making on YouTube and unknowingly became a customer knife maker. Taking anything from a vague idea to a sketch on the back of an envelope, Elliot developed and honed his skills while turning pieces of metal into a completely unique and hand built knives.
Check out all the videos on our YouTube Chanel.
Seeing a growing demand for his work, Elliot enlisted Chris to come in, learn some skills, and help out on weekends and days off. Obviously Chris accepted and was dubbed "the Apprentice". Over the next year we built, broke, experimented, failed, succeeded, failed, and began learning the lessons and skills that are the foundation of all Ferrum Forge knives.
The Limited Run Years (2013-2017)
After years of hard work and hundreds of custom builds, Elliot knew that his tiny garage workshop and rag tag equipment would not be enough to keep up with his growing order list and moved into his own shop. With the goal of making more than one knife at a time, he jumped right into the deep end and got a CNC machine, upgraded his equipment and started learning the language of manufacturing, CAD. The days of putting fingers in danger cutting materials with a band saw and angle grinders were over and a whole new world of manufacturing opened up to us.
In 2014 Chris officially joined Ferrum Forge Knife Works full time. With two capable knife makers on the job, we started figuring out how to make more knives and, more importantly, better knives. The introduction of CAD allowed us to utilize a wider range of industrial processes to generate components for 25 to 200 piece limited runs of unique models.
We threw ourselves completely into the craft. If we were awake, we were building knives. Over the next few years we put our noses to the grindstone and crafted thousands of ultra premium titanium framelocks in our shop. Our materials improved, tolerances tightened, and our skills evolved. The long nights, burnt and cut hands, and lack of days off were exactly what we needed to begin to truly understand designing, engineering, and building the best knives. Through years of hard work and experimentation we learned how to make great knives and defined our style.
Pro Series (2016-Present)
Making unique model runs of 200 knives at a time was not enough to keep up with demand and we knew it was time to shift our paradigm again to get more knives into hands. We went a bit crazy with the Limited Runs and realized that we lost sight of why Elliot started the company and why Chris joined: making good tools that people want to use. Although the knives were engineered and built to be used and abused, they were getting too expensive and we were too focused on creating unique aesthetics, rather than maximizing value. We took everything we learned from all the years of hard work designing and building knives, both successfully and unsuccessfully, and teamed up with the best manufacturers in the world to create a production line of pocket knives for anyone and everyone who could use a knife.