Chris Rowley owns Nomad Customs in Rainier, Washington.
In the second of BLADE’s Midweek Makers series we continue with our armed forces active-duty members and veterans. This week: Midweek Makers Military-Style: Chris Rowley of Nomad Customs.

Chris Rowley was a farrier for 12 years or more before he joined the Army at age 34. During his seven years of service he deployed six times to Afghanistan with 2nd Battalion, 75 Ranger Regiment, winding up his service this year as a weapons squad leader with the rank of staff sergeant.

He always loved blacksmithing and found time after work and on weekends to keep his hand in it by making knives. “Pretty soon half of 2nd battalion had one of my knives,” he said.

When Chris entered blacksmithing competitions, his horseshoes were hammer-finished, essentially going from the forge to horse. He tries to carry those shaping skills over to his knives, completing as much work in the forge as possible. Although not applicable with all steels or designs, many of his knives maintain a richly textured hammered finish.

Chris lives with his wife in Rainier, Washington.

  • Best-selling knife patterns: small everyday carry knives and 4- to 10-inch bowie-fighters
  • Favorite blade steels: 1084, 1075 and 15N20 for ease in forge-welding and the contrast with 1084 and 15N20; also W2
  • Blade grinds: hollow and flat
  • How he tests his knives: cardboard and random materials for everyday carry knives; chopping kindling and prepping game for camp-oriented knives
  • Favorite handle materials: resin-and-burl-wood combinations by Voodoo Resins and J Hue Customs. “Both finish really well,” he added.
  • Price range: $275 and up
  • Forums he participate in:
Chris Rowley of Nomad Customs was a farrier for 12 years before joining the U.S. Army.
The diamond hole you see in Nomad Custom knives is representative of the U.S. Army unit in which knifemaker Chris Rowley served, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

This knife has a 9-inch flat-ground forge-welded blade of 1084 and 15N20 steels. The handle is made of redwood burl with Voodoo Resins spacers and G10 liners. His maker’s mark is a diamond cutout to represent the Ranger Battalion emblem. Maker’s list price: $500 with sheath.

Watch Chris Rowley Cut Out His Maker’s Mark

The diamond-shaped insignia is used to represent the battalion within the Ranger Regiment. Often in comments, you will see it typed as < 2 > for 2nd Battalion, for example.

The Scroll Factory sells all kinds of U.S. Army Ranger apparel and accessories.
This sticker, offered by Scroll Factory, shows what the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment diamond looks like that bladesmith Chris Rowley of Nomad Custom Knives & Tools cuts out of his blades as his maker’s mark.


Contact Chris Rowley,, on Facebook at Nomad Customs and Nomad Custom Knives & Tools and on Instagram @nomadcustoms03.

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