It’s not unusual for a young knife maker to turn to veterans in the field for mentorship and instruction. But 22 year-old TJ Schwarz is taking a unique approach to learning that also helps him pay the bills. Schwarz partners with famous makers to produce instructional DVDs on the art of knife making.
“I came into this field with an interest in knives, but knew very little,” Schwarz tells us. So far Schwarz has produced three sets of instructional DVDs, for a total of 4 hours of in-depth knife making tutorials. Lucas Burnley, Michal Gavac, Rick Dunkerley and Shane Taylor have all starred in Schwarz’s videos. “To have them sitting there and going through the process is incredibly instructive,” he says.
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The Boise, Idaho-based entrepreneur may be new to the industry but he has already proven that he’s a big talent. Right out of high school he designed the award-winning Koenig Knives Zenaida, the first knife with a tool-free takedown to hit the market. Several of his designs will be entering production in 2017, including a collaboration with a major knife brand. He even helped Millit Knives design a new logo.
And as intended, the videos he produced helped Schwarz develop the knife fabrication skills needed to set up a shop of his own. “My ability to be working like I am now is 100% because of others guys in the industry,” Schwarz says. The Charbonneau (shown above), a full-size outdoors fixed blade, is his latest model. An EDC-sized companion piece is also in the works.