Friday, December 4, 2015

Don Hanson III Custom Knives at Sunfish Forge

Don started making knives as a hobby back in the 1980s. One of the first knives he made was a fighter with desert ironwood handle.

Among some of the first knives were filet knives, kitchen knives like paring, butcher, and slicing knives. One of those knives started out as a bait-cutting knife to use when we were in the commercial deep sea fishing business in Florida. It is now being used in my kitchen to cut up vegetables.

In 1990, we moved from our native Florida to Southern Missouri. During this time, he began making knives full time. These knives were mainly hunting style knives along with few custom Bowies. In the beginning my tang stamp was my initial DH, but in 1996 he changed it to a sunfish stamp designed by his wife.

In 1994, Don began making slip joint folding knives in the old traditional patterns. This is where the classic traditional sunfish pattern comes in. The sunfish was one of the first knife patterns he made. At the knife shows, he became known as 'The Sunfish Man'. From that name came my forge name and later, my website name of "Sunfish Forge".

With each order for a folder Don began to evolve into more of my own designs, moving into making more art knives, automatics, and solid 18K Gold knives. Around 2003, he started making forged Bowie and fixed blades again with both traditional Damascus blades and also carbon steel blades with vivid hamons-temper lines.

Don began making his own Damascus in 1994; starting out with trips to the National Ornamental Metals Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. With help from his Memphis friends, I was able to make my first Damascus. In 1999, he built his current shop. It has enough room in the back for 3 Little Giant power hammers - a 25 lb. and two 100 lbs.; a forging area with 2 gas forges and a 24 ton press. With this equipment I am able to forge traditional Damascus along with mosaic Damascus for all of my knives.

His web site is: