Midweek Maker Forged-Style: Tyrell Johnson

Midweek Maker Forged-Style: Tyrell Johnson
Tyrell Johnson forge-welds some cable-pattern steel in his North Carolina shop.

Tyrell Johnson has always been interested in knives and firearms, and two-plus years ago he decided to take a knifemaking class at Montgomery Community College in North Carolina.  “As my wife can attest, I’ve had many hobbies in my life, but knifemaking immediately struck a chord with me,” he commented.  “I knew right away that this was what I was meant to do, and I’ve been making knives ever since. I eat, drink and sleep knives.” Travis Daniels, of TED Knives, has been a helpful mentor to him. Tyrell does both stock removal and forging, and especially enjoys forging brut de forges.

Tyrell Johnson of Tyrell Johnson Knives has enjoyed numerous hobbies, but none have captured his imagination like knifemaking.
Tyrell Johnson is a relative newcomer to knifemaking, but he loves both forging and stock removal. His 5-year plan is to retire and devote himself full-time to knifemaking.

Tyrell currently works full time as a waste treatment plant operator, but in five years he expect to retire and focus fully on knifemaking.

• Best-selling knife patterns: drop-point hunters, kitchen and filet knives

• Preferred blade steels: W2, 1084, 1095. “I love carbon steel. It has a great history and the keeness of the edge is hard to beat,” Tyrell noted.

• Blade grinds: hollow for slicing, flat for durability

• How he tests his knives: cutting paper, shaving hair, chopping wood

• Favorite handle materials: Micarta, exotic woods, burl wood, resins—“I love working with the scales produced by J Hue Customs by Tim Kipps,” Tyrell added.

• Price range: $150-$350

• Knife shows he attends: BLADE Show

• Member of: North Carolina Custom Knifemakers Guild, American Bladesmith Society

Tyrell hand-makes all his sheaths from premium 8-ounce leather or Kydex.

Tyrell Johnson is a newcomer to the art of knifemaking, but he's committed.
This brut de forge has a 4.25-inch hollow-ground blade forged out of 1084 carbon steel. The scales are fashioned from desert ironwood. The overall length is 8.5 inches. Maker’s list price: $275 with leather sheath.
Contacts listed at the bottom of this article.
Lisa Johnson has watched her husband, Tyrell Johnson, go through many hobbies, but he loves knifemaking and is sticking with it.
Tyrell Johnson and his wife, Lisa, sneak away for some trout fishing.
Tyrell Johnson Knives' cleaver has a 6-by-3-inch blade made out of 1095 steel.
Tyrell Johnson’s cleaver has a 6-inch edge on a 3-inch wide 1095 carbon steel blade. The resin-breech wood scales were made by J. Hue Customs. The cleaver is 10.5 inches overall. Maker’s list price: $225-$250. Contacts listed at the bottom of this article.
Tyrell Johnson of Tyrell Johnson knives makes his own san mai steel.
Tyrell made some san mai steel, sandwiching 1084 with mild steel. He wanted to try out his new tire hammer.
Tyrell Johnson makes his own pattern-welded steel.
Tyrell Johnson forge-welds some cable-pattern steel in his North Carolina shop.

Tyrell made a combat knife for the North Carolina Custom Knifemakers Guild’s cutting competition last spring. The knife could not be longer than 15.5 inches overall with a maximum blade length of 10 inches. At least one visible pin had to pass through the handle, a tang was required and the knife had to have a lanyard hole with wrist lanyard and be accompanied by a sheath and zippered pouch.

Tyrell Johnson made this knife for a cutting competition.
This Tyrell Johnson Knives’ Fighter was made using 1084 steel. The knife was 15 inches overall with a 9.75-inch blade. Tyrell used ambrosia maple burl for the handle. The sheath was 8-ounce premium leather with eastern North Carolina copperhead skin inset. “I personally harvested and processed” the snakeskin, Tyrell explained. Travis Daniels taught Tyrell how to make his own sheaths.

Contact Tyrell Johnson, 252-341-4791, nctbone@gmail.com, on Facebook at Tyrell Johnson and on Instagram @Tyrell_Johnson_Knives


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