Editor’s Note: This piece originally appeared at The Truth About Knives as part of the “5 from the Grinder” series. Used with permission of the author (David C. Andersen). If you would like to be featured on KNIFEMagazine.com in a future 5ftG post, visit https://www.knifemagazine.com/5-from-the-grinder-form/ (password “grinder”).
Today’s 5ftG participant was recommended to us by our good friend Todd Hunt, and I’m sure glad he did. As you are about to see, Mr Kyle Daily turns out some stunning knives. Without further ado…
First, in a few sentences, please introduce yourself and let us know what led you to making/designing knives.
I am Kyle Daily of KHDaily Knives. I am an engineer by day and a knifemaker by night! I am 33 and live in Wheaton, Illinois. I have a wonderfully supportive wife and two twin boys who are almost two years old now. I started off collecting things to have a mini machine shop at home, and then built my own 2X72 knife grinder. My first knife was finished in 2015 that was for my wife as a Christmas present. It was a little late, but she loved it! Since then I have fallen more in love with knife making over the years. It allows me to be creative and make tools that will be with people for a lifetime.
What knifemaker(s) or designer(s) have had the biggest influence on you? Do you have any mentors?
There have been four knife makers over the years who have helped me the most. One of the people who I followed a lot on Bladeforums in the beginning was Andy Roy of Fiddleback Forge. He was posting a ton of work-in-progress photos in his basement. In seeing how he was making his knives, I noticed that was a lot of the equipment was what I was wanting for my own home shop.
After following his sub-forum for awhile, my wife and I went down to Atlanta to the Blade Magazine knife show. While there, I was fortunate enough to meet some of the knife makers I had been talking to. During the show, I met Andy, Dylan Fletcher, and Dan Eastland. We talked a lot in the pit and they told me about how they make their knives. After the show was over, Dan invited me to Fiddleback Forge to see some of their equipment. He was very helpful in pointing me in the right direction.
After making a few knives, one of my friends, Erich Mann, told me about Todd Hunt of T.M. Hunt Custom Knives. After we went to a knife show in Louisville, Kentucky, we stopped by his shop which was only about 20 miles away from where I grew up. Todd was a wonderful host, making burgers, having a couple beers and talking for a few hours. Since then, Todd and I have become great friends. He has an amazing shop and he keeps improving his skills by getting out of his comfort zone in knife making. He has helped to inspire many different design elements and process improvements in my knives. Todd taught me how to do the thorn firework pattern and has given me many pointers over the years, and I am truly grateful for all of his mentoring.
What is your favorite knife pattern or style from history?
My favorite knives are kitchen knives. Don’t get me wrong–I love taking knives out into the woods! I just love knives that I can use everyday and have practical purpose even more.
I think my all-around favorite kitchen knife is the chef’s knife. I love how it can be used to get into spots to butcher meat with the tip, as well as having enough height to handle any chopping task. My wife and I cook daily, and the knives get a lot of use.
What is the next big thing in knifemaking? / What direction do you see the industry going?
I think kitchen knives are the next big thing. The Food Network, as well as other cooking networks/shows, have really inspired people to start cooking more at home. You can see this with many “cook at home companies” (such as Blue Apron) sending pre-portioned meals for people to cook at home. These TV networks and companies have inspired a lot of people to do more and more cooking themselves.
These people are now wanting to increase their skills and are realizing how inadequate their home knife set is. Most of them are also looking for a beautiful knife to make their cooking that much more enjoyable. My kitchen knives are designed to have contours and be vastly more comfortable in your hand than most of the knives in the department stores.
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?
I think my chef knife is the knife that best exhibits who I am as a maker. I really put a lot of effort into my knives; in particular, I make the plunge and its transition into the handle blended for a sleek design and feel. I also like to do file work on the spine of the knife. I think that touch really helps set my knifes apart from a lot of the knives you can buy off the shelf. I do a traditional thorn pattern, but have a couple of patterns that I have not seen anyone else using.
What is your EDC and why?
I probably carry way too much stuff for EDC! I always carry one of my Pocket Bushcrafters in a back pocket sheath. I created this design to try and have an all-around small knife that I could carry everyday, but could handle some larger tasks too. What I ended up with was the Pocket Bushcrafter design.
It is a three finger knife that allows you to still have a lot of leverage when performing cutting tasks. I love the back pocket sheath; it also holds a Leatherman PST II perfectly, which I grab all the time for miscellaneous things. Having a set of pliers, as well as some screwdriver bits, has been very helpful in many ways.
I also always carry some sort of folding knife; right now it is a Benchmade Mini-Griptillian that has red aluminum aftermarket scales. In my rotation I also carry a Spyderco Paramilitary 2 or the Spyderco Manix 2. I like to have a production type knife on me for people who ask me to borrow my knife. I don’t feel bad making the production knives perform box duty! A Leatherman Micra, mainly for the scissors, is usually always in my front pocket. I know there are scissors on the PST II, but the Micra scissors are much better.
I am an engineer by day, so something to write with is a must! I always have my bullet space pen with a fine blue refill in my pocket. I am constantly taking notes on prints and documents, and the blue ink really stands out on the pages with black text. I also carry a dual tip Sharpie marker, usually in black, for marking on boxes and different things. In with the pens that I have, I carry a 6” scale that has inch graduations on one side and metric on other. I still am most comfortable in standard (inch) units and am constantly using my scale to convert metric measurements to inches.
My standard wallet always has a few business cards in it. Right next to my wallet, I carry a Fenix PD35 flashlight. The bifold wallet has formed to partially wrap around the light. I really like the Fenix PD35, because it is really bright and the user interface is very easy to explain to non flashlight people. I also use Nitecore RCR123 Li-Ion batteries in it. I have two Nitecore batteries that get rotated once a week. This helps to insure I always have a charged up battery and don’t have to worry about it going out.