By Nancy Green
Todd Davison says he never works a day, yet he spends the hours from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. in a shop in his back yard making knives.
“I enjoy making knives which requires tedious work, but I don’t consider it work. It’s like play,” Davison said standing at a workbench in the shop at his home on South Wells Street in Kosciusko.
He said the pleasure he gets outweighs the work involved in fashioning a knife from what he terms as “from scratch.”
Fascinated with knives as a youngster, Davison said he received his first pocket knife when he was eight years and it’s still in his possession.
Seeing a knifemaker at work for the first time, Davison became fascinated. “I thought it was neat to make a knife and I knew I could do that,” he said. During his 30 years in the business he has made hunting knives, pocket knives and kitchen knives. He considers the pocket knife his favorite to make although it’s the hardest. “The more blades, the harder it is to make,” he said as he showed a five blade knife. In two days, he said he can turn out a single blade but the five blade version takes two to three weeks. A single blade brings $500 and a five blade $1500. Hunting knives start at $125. Each of his knives is numbered and he keeps a meticulous record of sales and dates. A tattered journal testifies to its use.
Davison prides himself in the quality of material he uses as well as workmanship. Unlike most who practice the trade, he said he never uses a pattern for his knives. “All of mine are one of a kind,” he said. Steel comes from Indiana and other materials he purchases from companies in Florida, Oklahoma and other locations. Handles are made from micarta, a synthetic material, as well as ivory, mammoth bones and stabilized woods of box elder burl violet, black ash burl and other exotic varieties.
Davison is well known at many gun and knife shows where he once sold many knives but said he now mostly relies on the internet for his sales. In addition to offering his quality knives he also offers knife sharpening.
He grew up in Kosciusko, moved away and is back after a number of years moving his workshop of knife-making tools from Lyons, Kansas.