Elliott Reiter

Elliott Reiter

Elliott Reiter lives in Barriere, BC with his wife Jessica and their two young daughters. He has a true passion for making knives but he doesn’t know where it came from. His first recollection is when, at 5 years old, he fell in love with his dad’s custom knife.  At 7 years old he was mesmerized by a knife in the Sears catalogue. He tried to save his money to buy it but he never had enough. When he was 10 years old, he cut a tang from an elk antler rack and told his dad that one day he would make a knife handle with it. He carried it with him for the next 10 years but lost it in a move. However, what he didn’t lose was his passion for knives, it only intensified.

In 2009 Elliott learned to make his first knife by reading a book and using an old file for the blade and black walnut for the handle.  He continued using old files for the next 6 knives. When a co-worker wanted to buy one, Elliott knew it was time to get serious. He saw pictures of high-end custom knives and knew that was what he wanted to do. Knifemaking became an obsession; all he could think about was how he could get better. In fact, he frequently dreamt about making knives.

By mid-2010, he had made many knives and he was confident enough about their quality to sell them to family and friends and get a table at the Kamloops Gun & Knife Show. At the Show, he sold several knives and met many other knifemakers. This was a turning point because he realized he could make money from doing what he loved.

Since that time, Elliott has built his shop, got more and better equipment, and continued to develop his skills and techniques.  He’s learned from accomplished knifemakers including George Roberts, Roger Hatt, Bob Lay and Frank Niro all of whom generously gave their knowledge and experience.   Elliott says “knifemaking is like a rabbit hole … the more you learn, the more there is to learn and you can never learn all the techniques, blade finishes and handle materials”. He credits his previous job as professional automotive painter and detailer and his experience with lapidary equipment for some of his knifemaking skills.

All of Elliott’s knives are his original design. He starts by drawing the concept and refines it until it “feels right” to him. Then he makes the template. He uses his extensive backcountry hiking experience to design knives and he is his biggest critic.  He asks himself, “is this useful and beautiful, and would I buy it?”  By doing so, he has learned to trust his judgment.

He says “the only reason I make knives is for the satisfaction of making something that is high quality and that I can be proud of. After I finish a knife, I put it beside my computer and look at it for several days until I am ready to let it go. If I am proud of it, I am confident my customers will be too.” 

Elliott makes hunting, chef, and folder knives and art daggers for collectors.  He has customers in the US and Canada. He has about 25-30 people on his waitlist. He is able to make about two knives a month because he works full time in the local mill and he reserves time for his family.  But if he could, he would be a full-time knifemaker and he is hoping he can transition into that in the future.

Elliott likes working with a wide variety of materials such as Damasteel and D2 Stainless Steel and natural materials such as gems, mammoth tusk, elk antler, and Ironwood for handles.

What he likes most about knifemaking is “taking raw materials from the earth and building something that is functional and beautiful. Every knife is an original piece of art.” His next biggest challenge is to make high-end art folding knives with gemstone handles.

When asked what advice his advice is for other knife makers, he said “focus on quality in everything and always strive to do the best you can do”.

In conclusion, Elliott says that he could not be a knifemaker without the support of his family. “My wife Jessica, has been a big supporter and critiques my work.  My dad Randy Reiter, was a huge support when I started knifemaking and he made all of the leather sheaths for me.  My Grandpa Reiter also loved knives and talked about making knives, he gave my older siblings each a knife but sadly he passed away before I was old enough to get one from him.”

Check out his knives  https://www.facebook.com/reiterknives/

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