TJ Schwarz Brings Machining Know-How to Custom Knives

Knife maker TJ Schwarz is bringing his business to the next level this year. Schwarz Knives will apply modern manufacturing and design principles to custom knife making to bring his pieces to customers as efficiently as possible.

When we spoke to Schwarz in the winter of 2016, we described him as a “rising star” in the knife world; in 2022 we can safely stay his star has risen. Schwarz has done a ton of knife maker documentary videos, and released multiple designs available through CRKT. Now Schwarz says the next step is custom knives – with a twist. “I am wanting to do it differently than most,” he tells us. “I am applying the principles of efficient manufacturing to my custom work. In other words, I want to bring the quality and craftsmanship of my own two hands to more people via the help of technology.”

This means a judicious use of the CAD and CNC skills Schwarz developed through years of speaking to makers for his documentaries. “I think my experience in CAD and now CNC machining is very important to this goal. Out of my one man shop I am applying the things I have learned in 10 years of exposure to knife manufacturing.” But Schwarz is careful to point out that these knives will not be assembly line pieces of any sort. “I am not trying to build a ‘knife company.’ These knives are custom made to customer specifications within a reasonable lead time and are made by me personally.”

The Scalpel+ will be available to order later this year

The concept is important to Schwarz who, like all of us in the hobby, has seen horror stories of years-long wait times and order books that are longer than In Search of Lost Time. “I think I would like for people to know that my business model is for people to get a custom experience with a one man shop, but without waiting years for their knife,” he says. He points to the slick, clean interface of the Schwarz Knives website as a sign of this intent. “The look and feel of my website gives the sense that they are ordering from a full fledged knife manufacturer, when in reality, it’s just me.”

Schwarz’s Overland fixed blade is available to order now as the first custom knife option. “I have been spending a lot of time dialing in the process to make them efficiently,” he tells us. “I am also building the Scalpel+ with the same philosophy in mind. It is a small EDC sheath knife for urban and backup carry.” And yes, eventually knives with pivots will be on the menu. “I have plans to roll out more designs in the future along these lines and I eventually plan to work my way toward folders,” Schwarz adverts. “I am choosing to use the best materials and processes that I’m aware exist in this pursuit.”

Knife in Featured Image: Schwarz Knives Overland