Christensen Knifeworks Draws up Plans for Mid-Tech and Production Knives

Matthew Christensen, founder of Christensen Knifeworks in Steger, Illinois, is taking a two-pronged approach to building his business in 2017. Strictly a custom maker until now, Christensen is releasing a mid-tech knife, the Audacious, and is working with Kizer Cutlery to produce a production version of his Critical custom knife for next year.

The Audacious (shown below) began life as a very limited custom knife. Christensen had requests from customers to make a larger version of his Brute model. “I knew that design wouldn’t work stretched out, so I came up with a new knife altogether,” he says. Christensen put out limited runs of this new knife with different blade shapes. He chose the model for his mid-tech because it wasn’t ever one he planned on keeping in his catalog: “This way I could put out a knife that wouldn’t feel too much like my normal customs, but that was still rare and cool.”

Christensen Audacious

The Audacious has a 3” cutting edge and an overall length of just over 6”. It packs a lot of blade into a tiny package. Christensen wanted his first mid-tech knife to reflect his own preferences for little big knives. “I’ve always liked fat, small, overbuilt knives.” Christensen is planning for a total of 200 Audacious knives to be made. They will sell for $400. Some of the knives will sell directly through Christensen Knifeworks, and preorders will begin in the next couple of weeks.. The rest will be sold through BladeCo USA and

Kizer Critical
Fans of Christensen’s designs that aren’t ready to invest in a custom or mid-tech should keep an eye out for the production version of his Critical knife in 2017. Kizer Cutlery approached Christensen earlier this year about a collaboration, and the timing was perfect. Christensen had just begun seriously considering a move into the production scene. “They came to me and I thought, ‘These guys are doing awesome work, why not start with them,’” he says.

Kizer Critical Rendering

The Kizer Critical (rendering shown above), like its custom predecessor, will host a big and bold wharncliffe blade with a heavy swedge. The lightening holes on the show side scale, broad pocket clip, and exposed blue titanium backspacer/lanyard hole are also all touches Kizer is bringing over from the custom. Currently, Christensen says they are working on a Bladesmith series version, although an even more affordable rendition in Kizer’s Vanguard line isn’t out of the question either.

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The Critical has been a popular custom, so it was a natural choice to put into production. The original version comes in a variety of configurations, including some liner lock models, but the Kizer version will be a frame lock. Three protoypes are on their way to Christensen with different pivot systems. One features a thumb stud deployment method. Although the original rendering shows a Critical with a flipper, Christensen is already leaning in another direction. “Flippers are a little played out for me and I love a good thumb stud opener.”

Knife featured in image: Kizer Cutlery Critical Rendering