Learn the story of Jan Wahl and Wahl Knives.
Here at Wahl Knives a lot of focus is on custom design and work. I try to make every project a unique piece of art. I love what I do and using my God-given talents to its full potential!
I have a couple of standard designs for the hunting, utility and folder knives just to make things easier for clients to do custom work on materials on these designs.
I use the best materials I can get and what is affordable for the client. I use N690, 440c for my standard blades. For art work and upgraded knives I use stainless Damascus, carbon Damascus, titanium Damascus, Mokume, etc. On the handles I use burl woods, carbon fiber, exotic materials, brass, etc.
As with most men, knives and swords have prickled my fancy since I can remember. It started with a plastic knife that came with a cowboy toy set when I was five years old. As I grew up, I saw movies like ‘Rambo’ and ‘Crocodile Dundee’ and of course, as my friends and I played our imaginary games, we had our Hero’s knives at our sides. After watching ‘The Three Musketeers’ at age 12, my friend asked his mother to make us costumes and we equipped them with our very own stick swords. We spent the entire school holiday re-enacting the great battles. Needless to say, we hit each other silly.
At some point, stick swords weren’t good enough to satisfy our imaginations so we started making them out of mild steel flat bar. Well, let’s just say, some of those battles were fierce and I still carry battle scars. Those were the good old days.
My real introduction to knife making was while I was working as a taxidermist. There one of my colleagues made a quick knife out of an old band saw blade. Looking at him as he made the knife, I thought by myself… how nice would it be if one of my grandchildren could one day say: “My grandfather made this knife!”
It was at that moment that my fascination with the knife making process started. I made my first knife out of a mild steel flat bar, not knowing anything about knife steel. My Father found a knife maker and blacksmith that lived near our town and I started working at his place and learnt the basics of knife making from him. I also bought one of his belt sanders.
After six months I started working on my own from home. During my years at Varsity, I could only work on my knives during weekends and holidays, and as the responsibilities of life started getting more demanding, the time available for knife making got even less. After losing my job, my father-in-law convinced me to pursue my passion, knife making, full time.
Before that conversation I was too scared to take that step, but knowing that someone supported me, gave me courage. I started my full-time knife making career in 2009 and I’m loving it every day! In 2012 I become a proud member of the Knife Makers Guild of South Africa! Enjoy the website and feast your eyes on the beautiful materials God gave us to make into knives!