Maker Denis Shefer Prepares for North American Debut

Russian custom maker Denis Shefer is exhibiting at Blade Show for the first time this year. He hopes to find a wider audience for his meticulously finished but deeply functional fixed blades.

According to Shefer’s international representative, the maker “wants to introduce the Western (above all the U.S.) knife collectors to his work.” Additionally, by making new contacts and seeing others’ work, Shefer hopes to hone his craft even further. “He is ever searching for ways to make his knives better, and he feels that being closer to international/US makers would give him new opportunities for learning.”

Shefer’s focus is mainly on medium-sized designs, finished with flamboyant and exacting detail. “His knives are fully done and finished by hand, there is no CNC work involved,” says the representative. “The only ‘automated’ part of the process is the heat treat.” Shefer likes to mix stylish, premium materials like ironwood, CarboQuartz, and Alutex with ultra high performance steels like S125V, 3V, and ZDP-189. In keeping with his handmade ethos, Shefer also furnishes the sheaths and carrying cases himself.

‘Custom’ means different things to different users and makers, but there is no doubt that Shefer’s particular style takes a lot of time. “A single knife can take up to two weeks for Denis to make. That is with 12-hour workdays Monday through Friday,” the rep tells us. Shefer has between 2 – 5 separate cutlery projects going at any given time, and keeps them each in the same stage of the creation process so he can, for instance, grind all five blades at once or fit them for sheaths simultaneously.

One of Shefer’s recent projects is the Techno, a sort of futuristic take on the Puukko fixed blade knife. Another design, the Granenych, otherwise known as the Edgy, is a hunter-style design with a sweeping drop point blade and a barrel-shaped handle. Shefer went all out with the finishing details, ofsetting the blade’s modern satin finish offset with a rustic ‘chiseled’ look on the spine, blade flats, and desert ironwood handle. “This is probably Denis’ most technically complex knife,” the rep tells us.

Shefer’s interest in the artistic side of knife making stems from a general fascination with luxury products, such as the world famous Faberg√© eggs produced in the Russian city of St. Petersburg. Shefer began his own career as an artisan by making handles for premade blades ordered from other Russian makers. Eventually he began making his own blades too, and settled on his current style. “His knives, while made out of premium materials, have to have functional design,” his representative explains. “You will not see crazy grinds in his work. Denis prefers traditional forms, drawing on the background of knives used by hunters and fishermen, but with absolutely meticulous attention to detail.”

Knife in Featured image: Shefer Knives Granenych