Knife Industry Legend A.G. Russell Passes Away

The knife world is mourning the passing of the one and only A.G. Russell. Russell was 85 years old and leaves behind a lasting legacy founded on his lifelong passion for cutlery.

Russell was a custom maker himself up through the 70s, producing a variety of handmade blades. But starting in 1964, when A.G. Russell Knives opened its doors, Russell found himself on the vanguard of the modern knife industry and has been a heavyweight in the field ever since.

In addition to his inimitable presence as a dealer and lover of knives, Russell was a prolific designer of them too. His knives were – and are – elegant, unique, utility-oriented. Russell also pushed the boundaries of production knife manufacturing, continually innovating in terms of materials and design. Concepts that we take for granted today were new or even unheard of when Russell first tried his hand at them. Modern handle materials, one-handed, ambidextrous locks, non-traditional working blade shapes – these are all areas in which Russell experimented and found success.

Some of his most famous knives are still loved and used today. The legendary Sting fixed blade has enjoyed a long and happy life in the hands of users and collectors, and has even featured in novels. His K-93 FeatherLite One Hand Knife pioneered the concept of an affordable, high quality EDC knife and features the AGR One Hand Lock. He turned out a series of well-regarded traditional knives, modern-style flippers, special runs in collaboration other makers, and even rescued and produced designs from fellow legend Bob Loveless. Russell was wildly prolific and continued putting out fresh concepts up through 2018, with recent releases like the Doodle Bug, Light’n Bug, and Fist continuing to add luster to his impressive track record.

Even as the times changed and the knife community evolved, Russell adapted his business to the shifting world around him. He produced videos, wrote articles, and sent out weekly emails discussing knives and the industry at large. Whether he was talking about his own designs, sharpening techniques, or general knife history, Russell brought the kind of well-worn expertise that can only come with decades of experience and passion.

According to Goldie Russell, Russell’s wife and business partner, a celebration of Russell’s legacy in the knife world will be scheduled for mid-November.