Knife maker Robert Carter has big plans for 2017. After a busy 2016, Carter confirmed that more production knife collaborations are already in the works for next year.
Since late 2015, Carter helped bring three new production knife models to market. When a big knife company makes one of your designs, let alone three, it can be a career highlight. Events were set in motion back in 2014 when Carter hit it off with CRKT president Rod Bremer, and sent along a prototype for a possible collaboration based on his Cricket custom knife.
Bremer and his team at CRKT snapped up the design and the CRKT Jettison series was born. When CRKT launched the Ruger Knives brand back in October, they chose Carter’s F-16 custom (shown below) as the basis for the Ruger Stage-2. While working on getting these designs to market Carter managed to find the time to get a third design, the Carter Prime, prototyped and produced by Ontario Knife Company.
Before becoming a full-time knife maker, Carter worked as a captain of an off-shore supply vessel in the Gulf of Mexico, and his style stems from a fascination with industrial design. He takes his queues from famous military icons like the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane. The result are knives that have a purposeful, flowing, mechanical look that echoes the streamlined shapes of ships, cars, and other vehicles.
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A third-generation knife maker, blades are in Carter’s blood. His father is Joe Pardue, designer of the Utilitac series for Ontario Knife Company, and his grandfather is Mel Pardue, longtime Benchmade collaborator and designer of blockbusters like the Griptilian.
Growing up among the Pardues, Carter got his start in the craft pretty early. He remembers helping in Joe Pardue’s shop at the age of seven, assisting with basic knife making tasks like grinding. Both his father and his grandfather were strict mentors in the craft. “They were rough on me when I first started,” Carter recalls with a laugh, “it didn’t matter what it was, they had criticisms.” It may have been tough at the time, but Carter is grateful for their critiques now. It helped him shape his own style. “I could not be happier that they did that for me.”
Knife featured in image: CRKT Jettison