Social Media- My Instagram username is joewatsonusa and on Facebook it is https://www.facebook.com/joewatsonusa/. I love seeing your pictures and stories posted as well.
The overall mission is to maintain the art of craftsmanship and pulse on reality as it pertains to cutlery. I offer a variety of high performance, handmade knives from kitchen to outdoors to self defense pieces. I do things the right way, one piece at a time. I am meticulous in my material selection, heat treating and effort in the details to offer people the best knives I can. I enjoy it ALL- whether it is working with the latest hi-tech materials, or working with rare and unique natural or antique components.
As someone who has watched trends and fads come and go, I've always done my best to contribute to the improvement of the industry and doing what is right rather than what is popular. It has been quite the ride watching the public go from balking at my ideas because they weren't folding or Rambo knives, to seeing the influence from my work spread and eventually being approached by different groups and companies to do design work and consulting for them.
As someone who enjoys the craft of knifemaking and has a lot of interests, I make knives for a wide variety of uses. Generally these are broken down into two simple categories:
-Field Grade: Everyday working knives made to perform with good geometry, heat treat and materials suited more towards ease of maintenance and durability. CPM154 is the most common steel used as it is the best all-around steel for most situations. Sometimes, steels like CPM3V or PSF27 will be offered as well. A stonewash finish is the most common finish I offer on Field Grade pieces.
-Signature Grade: My opportunity to explore and deliver a higher level of old world craftsmanship. The performance, high quality heat treat as the working knives, but with more premium features, more striking cosmetics and the use of more rare materials. Finishes can vary, from painstakingly hand rubbed and polished metal, high gloss satin finishes and pattern acid etched finishes. Blades may be stainless, or carbon steel with visible hardening lines-commonly referred to as a hamon. Thicker stock will often come with a tapered tang. You will also see hand sanded handles made from exotic woods, vintage phenolic materials, and other specifically selected components.
At 17 years old I enlisted in the US Army during the peak of the War on Terror, which was a great learning experience to kick off my adult life. Between training and combat missions, I'd gathered a lot of thoughts about what knives should be. Upon leaving the military to work in the private sector in various security and training roles, I got to meet some of the finest trainers around and have been continually blessed to have them as mentors.
Eventually I'd started to look outside of wrestling, BJJ and boxing and started taking lessons in weapons based martial arts like Filipino and Indonesian systems. In many places I had coworkers who could not carry firearms, so we started to heavily seek out edged, impact and improvised weapon training. While traveling, I would find out who was local and would go see how they did things. Some of the information was great and I met some good people during this process. Ultimately, I felt much was left to fantasy with these systems. A lot of choreographed flashy moves, little to no training against opponents who were trying to win. There wasn't much actual scenario training, but a lot of standing around and talking about what they would do in a given situation. I'd also noticed some discrepancies in the blades and sheaths these folks were using and implemented those observations into my own knives. Eventually I'd link up with Craig Douglas of Shivworks, someone who's training I started to think the world of and still recommend to anyone who is interested.
I've always spent as much time as possible outdoors and continue to use these knives every day, not just working around the shop, but also during hunting trips, wilderness survival & bushcraft and plain ol' property maintenance. As a single guy, I had to learn how to cook or be stuck the way of pizza boxes and easy mac, so I enjoy making and using kitchen cutlery as well, although I don't get to do as many as I'd like at the moment.
Initially I just wanted to make functional stuff and didn't give a thought to fit and finish. A few years down the line, as I continued to learn under some of the great knife makers, I started wanting to refine my work further and found that as I improved the details, my skill grew and the knives started not just working, but looking a lot better as well- go figure!
By remaining active in the defense training industry as both a teacher and student, I am blessed with constant feedback on my designs as well as awareness of what people on the job require in ever-evolving environments. Since I respect the value of other methodologies and experience, I also frequently work with professionals from the military, law enforcement and civilian sectors to vet and create new designs. I am proud of the fact that the designs I make are painstakingly evaluated by a diverse group of people, with our experiences combined built into every piece.