Three Sisters Forge’s Jim Allen is currently in talks with a local machining company to help him keep up with the growing demand for his blades. Most custom knives end up in the cases and safes of collectors, but according Allen, 90% of the custom knives made in his Bend, Oregon workshop go right into the hands of police offers and military personnel. The appetite for Allen’s blades has grown considerably over the last few years as word of mouth spread among his customers.
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“I get emails all the time from people wanting to get a knife when the dealers are sold out,” Allen tells us. “I want to be able to meet that demand .. the public market is growing.” As soon as he develops Three Sisters Forge’s capacities, Allen plans to expand its catalog too. Currently limited to just three models – the Beast, the Gorgon, and the credit card-sized CCT – Allen has enough designs worked out to double Three Sisters Forge’s offerings. The large civilian market is appealing but Allen says Three Sisters Forge’s upcoming line-up is made to please his core audience. “Military and law enforcement will remain our focus,” he says.
Allen is a completely self-taught knife maker and machinist. “I’d buy a machine, read the manual, and make a thousand pounds of garbage until I finally got it right,” he recalls. The custom experience at a production knife price point is a key tenant of Allen’s business philosophy. Even in today’s world of high-end production folders and mid-techs, Three Sisters Forge custom knives fall within the reasonable $275-400 ‘sweet spot.’
Three Sisters Forge was born when Allen bought a knife kit to make a folder for the son of a friend, a helicopter pilot deployed in Afghanistan. Allen wasn’t happy with the proportions of the kit knife, so he did a little reshaping and optimizing. When other soldiers saw the result, they emailed Allen asking for a knife of their own. “I love taking care of the military and police,” Allen says. “When I hear stories about how my knives are used, how handy they are, how they hold up, that really makes me feel good.”
Knife featured in image: Three Sisters Forge Beast