Chris Williams is the founder and lead craftsman of Williams Knife Co., a company based in South Carolina which makes premium custom knives for outdoorsmen. We sat down with Chris to learn about how this cool young company came to be.
1. What is Williams Knife Co and how did it get started?
Williams Knife Co. is a luxury knife brand that places the utmost importance on not only form, but also function. I first became interested in knife making as a kid from my grandpa. He and I would spend hours in a shop behind the house immersed in the art. Even after I grew up, it was a hobby I returned to after long days at the office. In 2010, I quit my job in finance and made knife making my full-time job. This came after years of working in the shed after work, creating knives for my friends and family. It was a hobby that turned into something much larger thanks to word of mouth. Williams Knife Co. really got its big break when I was selected as the “Made in the South Award” winner by Garden & Gun. Overnight, literally, we went from being a Lowcountry knife maker to being known on a national level. It’s been an incredible ride since.
2. What is the connection between Williams Knife Co. and fishing?
As part of my specialty knife series, I created four signature knives ideal for fishing. They include the Chechessee, the Waccamaw, the Wando and the Long Creek. From cleaning to filleting, these fishing knives meet every need. Whether it’s in the field or in the kitchen, these beauties will perform.
3. If you had to pick one, which would be the flagship knife of the Williams Knife Co? Tell us a bit about it.
The Edisto. It’s the knife that started it all with the Garden & Gun award. The Edisto is my hand crafted oyster knife, and is designed specifically to open the more difficult cluster oysters that are so commonly found here along the Lowcountry’s coastline. What sets it apart from a more traditional knife is its stylish appearance and a more pointed blade tip that flares out in the middle to help you get into those stubborn oysters. It’s a tool built for a lifetime rather than the cheaper plastic alternative and is perfect for prying open those shells with friends for years to come.
4. Do you have knives in stock, or is each one made to order?
We recently introduced an “Available Now” section to our website that allows fans to purchase a one-of-kind knife without the wait. Although, many of my customers still prefer to work with me directly to create their custom knife from start to finish.
5. Almost all of your knives have an interesting name, like the “Chattooga” or the “Tugaloo”. Where does that come from?
When I’m not in the shop, I enjoy spending as much time as possible outdoors. Because of this, the inspiration for my knife names comes from the rivers of South Carolina. You’ll find that each one of my knives is named for a river within the state.
6. Do you make anything apart from knives?
I personally only handcraft the knives, however, I have additional specialty items available on the website that feature one-of-a-kind products, including wooden spoons and cutting boards, as well as stainless top and wood top tables.
7. What’s next for the Williams Knife Co?
We just launched a new series of production knives ideal for extreme conditions and worthy of bearing the Williams name. It took me nearly three years of designing and testing to get the Expedition Series to where I knew it could deliver results and still feature the style that my knives are known for. Right now we have one knife within the series – the Chattooga – a folder design perfect for everyday carrying. And, we’ll continue to add knives to the Expedition Series this fall.