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So...who is this knifemaker?


I am honored that you have chosen to spend some time on my website. I am Clarence DeYong and I live in Sturtevant, WI (which is about 25 miles south of Milwaukee). I moved to this area when I retired after previously living in Geneva, IL, Ft. Collins, CO, Kennesaw, GA and growing up in Racine, WI. I have been making knives part-time since 1981.


I'm often asked how I got interested in knife making. I love to hunt, particularly bow hunt (there are some pictures of those adventures on this site) and to pay for my trips I spent several years processing deer for hunters in my garage each fall. I learned what handles felt comfortable in your hand, what blade shapes worked best for the various jobs, and a lot about edge holding and sharpening. I have always been drawn to knives and still use the "lucky" hunting knife my folks gave me when I was ten. I had several knives in my collection when I ordered the "How To Make Your Own Knife" catalog from an ad in Field & Stream. I then ordered enough material to make two knives. After a LOT of filing and sanding I made two very ugly knives, but I was hooked. I picked up a lot of early tips from established veterans in the field, Dave Ricke and Ed Brandsey,  and read all the knifemaking material I could find in the early 80s. Even after 30 years I keep learning more about knifemaking at every show and through every conversation with other makers. 


My niche in knifemaking has been file knives. Why files and rasps? I love the concept of repurposing something that is rusty, used, and discarded. The transformation of that piece of metal along with "found" handle material can turn it into something beautiful, and I like thinking about these knives being cherished and handed down to the next generation. I made the first file knife as a joke after my buddy broke his hunting knife. I found a large grunt file, ground an edge on it, wrapped the handle with duct tape and used a PVC pipe for a sheath. I gave it to him for Christmas and told him, "Go ahead. Break this one". It turns out he actually used it and reported back, "This thing cuts like crazy! Please make me a real one." And that was how it started.


All my knives are individually numbered (engraved by The Trophy Shoppe) and I really don't have fixed patterns as every knife is unique. I enjoy creating rather than mass producing the same thing over and over.  Each knife comes with a 8-10 oz leather sheath that has been made specifically for that knife. Each knife also comes with a Certificate of Authenticity that describes the knife and should increase the value of the knife by 50 cents after I go to meet my Lord. I currently do some custom work but the majority is making what I like to make. I love natural handle material, especially burled and spalted wood, as you can see on many of my knives. I often create the knife to blend with the natural handle material, because to me, a beautiful knife has to flow and have pleasing lines. It should make the person looking at it want to pick it up. That is what I strive for. 


I retired as a Midwest Regional Sales Manager for the AGCO Parts Division which covered Maine to Montana. After retiring the first time I took a contracted sales position covering Wi, MN, IA and IL for Sparex which offers after market tractor parts. So at this time I am officially a still a part time maker. I  I appreciate all the support my family has given my "hobby" through the years. Note the quotations marks...this hobby has become more of a passion, really.  I'm especially grateful to my wife Marilyn for fighting dust, becoming accustomed to knife blades tempering in her oven, and finding large swaths of leather in the closet. She is also a great critical eye and support through long knife shows. You can see the rest of the support staff in the picture from my daughter's wedding. I also want to thank all those people who have purchased, admired and given input on my knives. You have been the key to making my next knife just a little better. Finally and foremost I thank my Creator for giving me this opportunity. 






2013 Windmill Days with my brother Harv

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