Who Is Matt Helm
The man, the myth... the legend! Matt Helm.
If you are familiar with our products you might be wondering; who is this guy and why do I keep seeing his name on your knives?
Let's let Matt answer that question once and for all.
As a boy growing up in rural West Texas, my life was outdoor-centric. When I wasn’t doing chores, reading Louis L’Amour or Peter Capstick, or wandering the countryside with a .22 rifle, I was my Dad’s helper around the place and in his one-man elevator maintenance business.
His enthusiasm and appreciation for knives and tools became my own from an early age. His mechanical inclination and eye for detail imbued in me an awareness of design and the fit and finish of a well-made tool or machine.
The ready availability of Smoky Mountain Knifeworks and A.G. Russell catalogs only served to fuel my enjoyment of edged tools, in particular.
In later years, spending time reading “Work in Progress” threads on BladeForums began to show me the process of creation, and I realized that there was a fascinating parallel between making a custom knife and the maturing process of life upon men.
Raw materials could be transformed into a tool or force multiplier by processes that were sometimes refined, sometimes rough, and at times even seemingly destructive.
A hand-made knife could become something attractive or unique, but relatively useless. It could become beautiful and extremely effective, with a tight focus on its intended use.
Sometimes they could be simple, even crude, yet strong, durable, versatile, and capable. The end result was determined by what raw materials were selected, what processes shaped them, and the skill, vision, and purpose of the maker.
In 2011, my enthusiasm for knives and the process of creating them drove me to try my hand. A few months later I had a Knife Maker’s Grinder, 01 tool steel, grinding belts and attachments, epoxy, handle material, and the determination of the inexperienced!
The knives of true craftsmen like Andy Roy, Rick Marchand, Lucas Burnley, Jesper Voxnaes, Daniel Winkler, and others I followed at the time informed my earliest “designs”.
In fact, a number of them generously responded to my questions and helped me immeasurably with insight into equipment, material, and processes.
As I was able, all the features, textures, and materials that had held my fascination began to meld into what I drew and attempted to create.
My desire has always been to fashion knives that were relatively simple and lent themselves to daily carry with quality sheaths but evoked the aura of your Grandfather’s knife - an heirloom that gained in character with time and use.
I will always regard myself to be a starry-eyed enthusiast first, and an aspiring maker, second. The friendships I’ve made over the shared enjoyment of knives are some of the strongest and most rewarding I’ve known, and I discovered early that “Knife Nuts” are some of the very best individuals!
Being an elevator tech by day and having a large family has served to moderate the amount of time I spend in the shop, but I deeply enjoy the ongoing learning process of the craft.
The experience took a new and exciting turn when Zach Thull and Chris Moss of Dauntless Manufacturing proposed turning one of my designs into a production model several years ago.
Their experience in precise manufacturing and their keen eye for detail are remarkable on their own merit, but they also bring to the equation their own gift for knife making and design.
The remarkable fact that there is a growing group of enthusiasts who own and enjoy examples of my “designs” is entirely due to their tireless work ethic, and their skill.
I have been simply an enthusiastic witness to their continued success. I am grateful for the support of those who carry the knives, and for Zach and Chris who have made it possible to share the passion with some of the best and kindest people.
Matt Helm Knives
Texas, July 20, 2023