It’s 10 degrees here in Knoxville, so sit back with a warm beverage or a hot stove – it’s 5 from the Grinder time. Today we bring you Michael Hobbs of Hobbs Custom Knives. While I do not know him, we apparently share an affinity for mountain trout fishing in the Smokies, so aside from the beautiful knives he makes, he has that going for him as well.
Please introduce yourself and let us know what led you to making/designing knives
Hey, my name is Michael Hobbs and I am fairly new to knife making, I’ve been making knives for 3 years and forging for about 2 1/2 years. I’ve been using knives since I was little, hunting, camping, whittling and anything else I could think of. As an adult I started getting into hand made knives and one day decided to make a knife for a friend. I started out doing stock removal with hand files, quickly moved on to a belt grinder and then started forging.
What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors?
My biggest influences have been Kyle Royer, Jason Knight and Burt Foster. I found Kyle Royer and Jason Knight early on, on YouTube. Their channels made a huge impact on me and started me in the right direction to becoming a knife maker. They have both critiqued my knives and offered feedback/instruction.
Burt Foster has been a major influence as well. Meeting him, I was able to show him my first few knives and he was kind enough to not only look at them but to critique them and give me instruction on what and how to make them better.
I have learned a lot and taken inspiration from many other Bladesmiths but I can’t name them all.
What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?
I’m a fan of all edged weapons but I’m especially fond of recurves, from art knives to hunters to kukris. I love the way they look, the way they chop and especially the way they cut. My favorite style to make is hunters, specifically recurve hunters.
What is the next big thing in knifemaking? / What direction do you see the industry going?
That’s a tough question, I don’t know what the next big thing is for the industry. At this point in my carrier I’m trying to focus on improving my own processes, designs, techniques, etc.
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?
Probably my R1 Hunter, its one of my favorite designs. Personally I love curves on a knife and my R1 Hunter is all curves, there isn’t a straight line on it. It’s big enough to skin large game but small and light enough to carry as an EDC.
What is your EDC and why?
I currently keep a Benchmade folding knife on me from my EMS days. I keep trying to carrying one of my own, particularly one of my R1 Hunters, but every time I do someone buys it.