John H. Davis Knives

5 from the Grinder: John H. Davis

Howdy folks, we are back with another 5 from the Grinder interview feature. This time it is John H. Davis, a friend of our Publisher Mark Zalesky, and a maker of some very fine Damascus bowies and daggers. He is extremely active in knifemaker organizations including The Knifemakers Guild, American Bladesmith Society, and has served as President of the Florida Knifemakers Association.

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And now, without further ado, we bring you John Davis in his own words:

Please introduce yourself and let us know what led you to making/designing knives:

Hi, Hello, for as long as I can remember I have had a knife in my pocket and even as a 5-yr. old heading to the woods to go fishing I had a knife in my pocket. My Dad made sure I knew how to use it rather than say I could not have one while I was away from home… Later, I found a knife magazine at a book store and saw all these custom knives in it and I just had to give it a try.


What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors?

There has been several makers that have either helped or influenced my style of knife making…Herb Derr, he invited me to his shop and showed me how to make Damascus steel as well as other techniques. I also went to the Bill Moran ABS school in Washington, AR. to learn forging from Jim Crowell and Bruce Fuller… While I was never able to meet him Bill Moran provided me lots of inspiration through the several books and videos about his work.


What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?

Bowie’s have always been my favorite knife style for as long as I can remember but I love Daggers as well and almost any knife has my attention.


What is the next big thing in knifemaking? / What direction do you see the industry going?

It appears to me that custom kitchen knives have finally made it to the top 3…


Is there a knife from your lineup that you feel best exhibits who you are as a knifemaker/designer in terms of design elements, aesthetic or techniques used?

My (Damascus) Bowies and Daggers show where my passion in knives is and exhibits my favorite elements in my knives.


What is your EDC and why?

I’ve been carry a Ken Onion Wave, it fits well in my pocket and doesn’t take up a lot of room but provides a nice size blade for cutting and a Leatherman Wave on my belt as well.

To check out more of John’s work, you can visit his website:

He can be contacted via email at johndavis(at)

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