Knife knut and collector Ed Norris counts himself lucky to be among the first to discover TK Knives. An Instagram friend turned him on to the young Czech Republic-based maker, and Norris was instantly impressed. The Kyre model, although far from the only titanium frame lock flipper on the market, caught Norris’s eye with its eye-catching, bio-mechanical style. “I loved the industrial look,” Norris says, “It was just hot!” It was only a matter of time before Norris placed an order for a Kyre of his own. As a collector, he wanted to add a fully custom knife to his collection, but he was also interested in giving this enigmatic new maker a chance to impress.
David Michalik, co-founder of TK Knives, rose to the occasion. “David was a great communicator, very interested in what I was looking for,” Norris recalls. “I could basically design the knife from the ground up.” At Norris’s request, Michalik made drastic modifications to the Kyre design. He used a different blade shape than the standard Kyre drop point, tweaked the stock thickness, and even went far afield to find zironicum for the overlays (at the time most of the zirconium in the Czech Republic was being used for explosives). The result was a one-of-a-kind, handmade, custom beauty (shown below).
TK Knives began in 2010, after Michalik was expelled from high school for misbehaving. He needed a knife for a hike and, being a poor ex-student, had to make one himself from an old file. He ground the blade on an angle grinder and used shoelace string for a handle wrap. That early knife, and a few Michalik made for friends, were the humble beginnings of TK Knives, which has been a full-time job for Michalik and co-founder Robert Chromčák for the last three years.
> > Keep your folders awesome. Grab a Pack of 5 Microfiber Blade Sleeves for $8.99 < <
Michalik views each order as an opportunity to hone his skills. “All our customers add something to TK Knives, either as a design element or a challenge,” he says. When Norris received his Kyre, Michalik encouraged him to use the knife hard to identify ways to improve future versions. But, Norris couldn’t bring himself to do it. “I carry it, and flip it, but I keep a Spyderco around for the hard work,” Norris admits.
Prices for TK Knives’ full customs vary depending on materials but usually come in under $900. If you’re willing to settle for a standard model or prefer to do your own pimping, you can also pick up a production version of the Kyre made by Kizer Knives. A Kizer version of their Mjolnir folder is also in the works.
Knife featured in image: TK Knives Kyre Chernobyl