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The knifemaking bug bit Don Bell in 1999 when an employee brought in a knife by Mastersmith Rick Dunkerley. Don and Rick both live in the same small town in Montana and Don was immediately fascinated by the idea of a handmade knife.  He says “…using a well made knife should be like wearing a ring on your hand - the knife becomes an extension of the user, and ceases to be a “tool”. 

Don credits Rick with his start in the knifemaking world – it was when he accepted an invitation to Rick’s shop that he got his grounding in the basics of making knives. Don has a fierce curiosity about the world and enjoys learning new things, and knifemaking provides him with continual challenges. Ed Schempp had given him a piece of damascus which Don used to make his first three knives. The additional materials and instruction were given by Rick Dunkerley. He comments that “it’s amazing how much you can learn, just by listening to someone who has a lot of talent. I feel very fortunate to have been exposed to that!”

He admires the work of Rick Dunkerley, Ed Schempp, Barry Gallagher and Tim Hancock – and although he has no desire to make a filet knife himself, he thinks that Phil Wilson makes the best one he has ever used.  He takes a lot of his inspiration from nature – particularly the mountains close to his home and forge. Don never makes knives with an intention for them to be specifically for use or collection, but instead tries to simply make the most beautiful knives he can. He enjoys going to knife shows, and thinks it’s important to commit to going to the same shows each year – “buyers like to know that you’ll be around to back up your work!”

Eight out of every ten knives that Don makes are sole authorship gentleman’s folders, the remaining two being hunter/utility knives with forged blades and natural handle materials. He likes to forge his knives. In a rush of inspiration, he’s been known to finish a knife in as few as two or three days, but finds that most of his pieces take one to two weeks. He says “knives have been around for thousands upon thousands of years and that makes innovation a real challenge. I’m always challenging myself with design ideas, trying new things.” He sees his knives as his legacy to the world – “When I’m long dead and gone, my knives will still be here on this earth, being used.”

Affiliations:

  • ABS Journeyman, 2005

Awards:

  • 2007 - Best Hand Forged Knife- PKA
  • 2007 - Best Hand Forged Knife- OKCA
PREVIOUSLY SOLD ITEMS
(NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE)
Bark Mammoth Ivory Folder
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Bighorn Folder
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Buckeye Hunter
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Cape Buffalo Folder
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Cape Buffalo Hunter
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Cocobolo and Damascus
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Cocobolo and Mokume
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Cocobolo Hunter
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Damascus and Ironwood Liner Lock
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Damascus and Ironwood Liner Lock
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Damascus and Ivory Folder
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Damascus and Mammoth Birdwing
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Damascus and Mesquite Utility
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Damascus and Stag Utility
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Damascus Birdwing Snakewood Folder
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Damascus Folder with Mammoth
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Damascus Micarta Folder
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Desert Ironwood
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Desert Ironwood Damascus Hunter
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Desert Ironwood Folder
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Desert Ironwood Hunter
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Gent's Desert Ironwood Hunter
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Green Bone Folder
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Green Mammoth
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Green Mammoth Ivory Hunter
Best Hand Forged Knife- PKA 2007, Best Hand Forged Knife- OKCA 2007
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Ironwood and Damascus Utility
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Ironwood Bird Wing Folder
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Ironwood Hunter
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Ironwood Hunter
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Jigged Bone Journeyman (Journeyman Test Knife)
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Ladder Pattern Window Frame
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Ladder Pattern Window Frame
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Mammoth and Damascus Bird and Trout
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Mammoth and Damascus Folder
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Mammoth and Damascus Utility
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Mesquite Bird and Trout
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Mother of Pearl Folder
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Radial Mastodon
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Sculpted Gold Lip Pearl Folder
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Sculpted Gold Lip Pearl Folder
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Sheep Horn Damascus Folder
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Silver Vine Folder
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