Michael West Continues to Refine Striking Custom Knives

Knife maker Michael West of Denmark-based West Knives is always evolving his signature style. West drew on unusual imagery for his early work and wants to expand his repertoire even further.

West says that when he began making knives, he took cues from an ancient source. “The original inspiration for my style was knives from the Iron Age found in archaeological excavations in Denmark,” he tells us. “When I made my first knife forty years ago there was no other Danish knife tradition to lean on.”

West’s work certainly under the ‘art knife’ designation. His style is minimalist and almost abstract, with designs made of exaggerated, dramatic lines that maintain a clean devotion to utility throughout. While his work often features exotic or luxurious materials, West says he wants his knives to derive their true beauty from their design. “I have worked hard to find the simplicity and essence of the knives, so that the term ‘art’ is more an inherent quality of the knife rather than something added on afterward,” he explains.

Most of West’s work consists of fixed blades, but he did test the waters of folder design earlier this year, collaborating with maker Simon Andersen of VA Knives with the Fenris liner lock. He says he finds the concept of a West Knives folder fascinating. “It will be a real exciting challenge to make my designs fit a folder. I love all the technical stuff as well and have acquired the necessary tools. So I guess there will be more folders in the future.”

There is one more show for West this year, the Corporazione Italiana Cotellinai in Milano, Italy. He also says he plans to make a knife from a piece of Dragonskin damascus produced by his friend and fellow craftsman Bertie Rietveld. Will there ever be a West design that makes it into widespread production through a collaboration with a company? “I am always open to offers and love the design part so…..You never know.”

Knife in Featured Image: West Knives Black Moon