Pro Staff Blog

Marc Liss on Life as a Knifemaker

Of all of the things you could make, why are you inspired to make knives?

I actually started making wooden rings first. I was selling them as wedding bands and the business was growing so I had needed to buy a few tools like a belt grinder, drill press and a small kiln. I then happened to move into a new workspace that I shared with my brother, a metal fabricator, and suddenly I had an ideal shop and some decent tools on hand so I thought I’d just try to make one knife and see how it went. Well that one knife turned into two and now here I am about 8 years later and I’ve made probably close to a thousand knives.

What kind of knives do you make?

Over the years I’ve made all sorts of knives, but as things progressed I realized what got me most excited was knowing that a knife I made was going to be used. I didnt like the idea of making something for someone if it was just going to sit on a shelf, unworked and unmarred. So these days, even though I make knives, I prefer saying I make tools as that conveys my goal better. I. specialize in culinary knives, as well as pocket/utility knives, but I also regularly make hunting/outdoor stuff. 

What is the TILI?

The TILI is our new utility pocket knife,  inspired by the simplicity and durability of old tools. Its essentially a knife distilled down to its essence; a cutting tool that retains only that which serves utility. Its got a fixed blade design, which makes it exceptionally surefooted and durable, but its also small enough to fit in your pocket, measuring just under 6″ from tip to tail. It comes in three different handle styles and works as a low profile EDC in its fitted leather pocket sheath or can be carried on a belt. 

How will it serve hunters?

Hunters commonly carry a mid to large scale hunting knife with them in the field. These typically have a swept tip with a fair bit of belly on the cutting edge making them ideal for skinning and cleaning game. But that curved belly and larger size limits their use in other ways. The TILI’s has a Sheepsfoot blade profile, with a sharply dropping tip and a relatively flat belly. This sort of profile makes it ideal for piercing, slicing and scraping tasks. And it is small, and for the most part small knives are more useful knives. They are nimble and very precise and they would make an exceptional secondary knife for hunters, without hogging much space in a pack or on a belt. 

What are our goals for the Kickstarter campaign?

Working on Kickstarter allows us to launch the TILI in a big way. We are a small operation, with just me making everything that comes out of our shop. A successful Kickstarter campaign makes the manufacturing process more efficient and productive because we can work in large batches. It also helps us grow our little business in ways that simply arent possible with small scale one-off sales. We want to keep upping our game and trying new things, but modern tools are quite expensive. People who back us on Kickstarter are like investors in our business. Not only do they get a cool knife out of it but they also help a small business grow and stay competitive. Our Kickstarter pricing is 20-30% lower than retail so it also provides an opportunity to get a TILI at a very low price for a limited time. This kind of pricing is only achievable for us because of the scale of sales that a crowdfunding campaign offers.

How can people contribute and get involved in this campaign? People can pre order their TILI at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/marcliss/the-tili We are running the campaign through July, after which we order a huge batch of steel and begin the manufacturing process. 

Kevin Paulson

Kevin Paulson is the Founder and CEO of HuntingLife.com. His passion for Hunting began at the age of 5 hunting alongside of his father. Kevin has followed his dreams through outfitting, conservation work, videography and hunting trips around the world.

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