My love of knives began at age six when I was given my first knife by my father. We lived on a couple acres outside of town and I learned to whittle and cut. In first grade I got my first pocket knife, a small Swiss Army knife. From then on I have rarely been a day without a knife. Sadly kids these days probably would not have the same opportunity.
I have been active in the outdoors for much of my life, where having a knife seemed a natural thing. I climbed my first mountain at nine and have since climbed many of Cascades Mountains. I also enjoy hiking, hunting, camping, skiing, surf kayaking and fishing. Growing up I also had the opportunity to learn and work for two very quality conscious uncles in Cashmere Washington who taught me about exotic and hardwood custom cabinet making and construction. The skills I learned making something of quality with my own hands grew and later helped me to make money over summers and during college at the University of Oregon. Since graduating in 1990 I have worked for myself as a builder and appraiser.
About 1998 I started grinding on a wheel reshaping machetes and making some throwing knifes. Then I had a few distractions, I met my wife...got married… had a kid and remodeled our home. But found I still wanted to create knives and began designing. In early 2007 I started seriously researching materials and suppliers, then started refining my designs and making knives on a part time basis. Knife making for me is a wonderful outlet for creativity, bringing together beautiful functional designs and durable construction to make something useful and satisfying to people.
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Though I am largely self taught many of my influences will be obvious to fellow knife enthusiast. There are a several exceptional knifemakers I would like to single out:, first, reading books and studying knives by R.W. Loveless and also, the work of Bob Dozier, Bob Terzoula and Wayne Goddard. Growing up and living in Oregon has been an advantage with the great outdoors at the door step and many notable makers and companies nearby. The late Bob Lum, known best for popularizing the Tanto style knife has been a huge influence on my knives. Though I never had the opportunity to meet him, his flair for simple lines, ergonomic designs and high quality fit and finish are aspects I try to incorporate in my work.
I have also had the good fortune to get to know Paul Bos and Wayne Goddard who have helped me with their knowledge and experience. It has been a great pleasure and honor get to know Wayne Goddard and be invited to be a part of the 5160 Club, as well as spend time with him at his shop. His experience has helped me improve many aspects of my knives and sheaths and get a pile of ideas for gadgets and specialized tools for crafting knifes. A special thanks to all of these individuals for their contributions to knife making and the knowledge and expertise they have shared over the years.
-Eric D. Ochs, Maker