Our friends over at TFB and Soldier Systems ran a story about Up Armored Knives a while back, piquing our interest. We did some following up with Will, the man behind the knives, and found out his work was just recently featured on the cover of Tactical Knives magazine. No surprise there: the painting he does look absolutely phenomenal and his knives seem to have a good reputation (to be fair, we haven’t gotten our hands on one yet, but we’ve read numerous glowing reviews). We figured we’d ask how he got his start and see if we could get some back story. Like, how did he get started, and given the amount of detail and labor that goes into each piece (and the fact that he works full time as a LEO), just how many knives does he build?
Turns out he was assigned as a sniper on his department’s tactical unit and started camo-coating his own equipment about twelve years ago. Other snipers on his and other department units noticed the result and he started working on their equipment. As his skill improved he started developing his own patterns (including the distinctive skull patterns which have become one of his signatures).
“As a law enforcement officer, guns and knives are part of my basic tools of the trade,” he told us. “Like many fellow officers, I have a passion for both. It wasn’t long before cops, military personnel and collectors started sending me their knives to coat. That’s how Up-Armored was born.”
After working on many high end knives for a while, Will decided to try his hand at knife-making. After several years of honing his knife craft (pun intended) and giving away a lot of knives, he added custom knives to the Up-Armored line-up.
“I turn out around 25 knives a year,” Will told us, “the majority of them tacticals made of 1095 chorme vanadium, which I can get hair-popping sharp with a convex edge. I apply Duracoat, a firearm finish, in a variety of colors and patterns. My sheathes are constructed by lining Kydex with leather—this both eliminates the scratches and the rattles assocated with Kydex.”
Although a good share of Will’s knives never venture far from his customers shelves or drawers, many have made their way into the hands of military personnel and law enforcement officers, which gives him a “warm and fuzzy feeling”.
These pictures shown above are his custom Menace Fighter, coated in the Up-Armored “Team Six” pattern, developed in honor of the personnel assigned to Seal Team Six. The Up-Armored Menace Fighter is Duracoat, Team Six Pattern, 1095CV steel .170” thick with a flat grind. Heat treat and cryo by Peters Heat Treating 58-60RC. Blade length 5.75", TOL - 11.25", Micarta Handle, ¼” Flared stainless tubing for the handle connection. It has a convex edge, and a scabbard of leather lined kydex.
This is by no means Will’s only knives. He has an incredible array of blades and some truly amazing ‘paint jobs’ to his credit. Pretty great accomplishment considering he's also a family man and a detective. You can see what Will’s up to currently by watching the website or checking the Up Armored Facebook page.
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