About Bill Keeton
I make custom knives because I truly enjoy creating cutting tools that are a pleasure to use and a pleasure to look at . With every knife, I am on a passionate pursuit of perfection. The closer I get the more I like it.
I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky and now reside in Laconia, Indiana (about 25 miles west of downtown Louisville). In 1969, I made my first knife from a kit purchased from Dixie Gun Works in Union City, Tennessee. Intrigued by the experience, I continued to make and sell knives part-time until I retired from Philip Morris in 1993.
As the son of a mechanic, I have always been familiar with tools of all sorts. But, when I decided to become a knifemaker, I sought the advice of local knifemakers on some of the finer points of the craft and the proper machines to purchase. I continued to make knives, teaching myself at each step and refining my methods. One of the most rewarding aspects of this process was designing and building my own machinery as I went along. I now perform every operation of the knifemaking process.
There is one man in particular, Frank Korb, to whom I will always be indebted. He has been a friend since my knifemaking infancy. Without his help and his vast knowledge and designing skills, I may not have succeeded in the business. He designed the “Secretariat”, “War Admiral”, “Vagrant” and “Foolish Pleasure”. Thanks Frank!
I make knives for collectors and sportsmen, but many of my first customers were local hunters. The people who buy my knives to use are basically sportsmen—they use them, and they use them hard. As I said before, I want to craft beautiful knives, but my knives are designed to work.
Quality and workmanship are what make one knife superior to another. For this reason, every part of my knives is hand-selected with these goals in mind. Every phase of building my knives has been carefully researched, thought out, and refined with perfection as my objective.
I offer 14 standard models, all named for winners of the Kentucky Derby. Each of these standard models, however, can become a one-of-a-kind knife by customizing things like the handle material, blade material, and finish.
I also welcome customer-designed knives. Contact me to find out how we can make the exact knife you have been looking for and wished someone would make.
I have been honored since 1975 to be a member of the Knifemakers' Guild, an international organization for creators of bench-made knives. I currently serve as the Indiana state leader.
Joe Bergman article for the "Clarion News"