After becoming interested in knives in 1972, Owen Wood became South Africa’s first professional knife-maker seven years later. He founded the Knife-makers’ Guild of Southern Africa in 1980 and served as its chairman for ten years. He eventually became interested in the international knife making scene, and he has exhibited every year since 1982. Occasionally he exhibits in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy.

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After moving from South Africa to Denver, Colorado, in 1999, Owen spent two years working for Spyderco doing research and development, as well as running their Golden factory, before returning to knife making full-time.

Owen Wood’s approach to design is ultimately what makes him stand out. Rather than seeing the knife as just the handle, he approaches it as an integrated work of art, with scales, bolsters, pommel, and handle forming a single piece. In creating the steel, he thinks about how the pattern of the blade will blend with the elements in the handle, as well as the overall shape of the knife. Similar considerations apply when choosing bolster and pommel materials.

Scales and handles can also benefit from this integrated approach, particularly when they possess strong directional qualities. According to him, the engraving work should complement the design as well. In order to create a truly great piece, Owen believes collaborating with an engraver should include ideas similar to his own. Owen considers textures and levels of detail equally important, so the knife should captivate a collector on every level. This applies both to shape and color. Examples of this attention to detail include raised liners, chamfered corners, sunken back spacers, decorated pins or rivets and other similar design nuances.