About Keith Nix
North Carolina Knife Maker
Knife Store Black Mountain
Knife Sharpener Near You
Professional Knife Sharpening Service
Hello! I'm Keith, the head grinder at Keith Nix Knives. I am a native North Carolina Knife Maker, with the knife maker's shop and knife store in Black Mountain. I make high-quality, AFFORDABLE custom kitchen knives and handmade outdoor knives of all types, from hunting knives to paring knives and all-purpose belt knives. Fine slicing blades, pig skinners, custom carving knives, boning knives, and heavy-use bushcraft blades.
Each blade is made by hand from new steel stock purchased from reputable dealers well-known in the knife community. All suppliers I use can provide certifications back to the factory and the specific "Melt" my steel came from. No scrap, recycled, "fleabay," or mystery steel is ever used for knives at Keith Nix Knives. I'm proud to say I'm a member of the NC Custom Knife Maker's Guild, The Better Business Bureau, and The Swannanoa Valley Chamber of Commerce.
In 2015 or 2016, I acquired a beautiful piece of Birdseye Maple and thought it would be fun to make a knife handle from it. I didn't have a suitable knife, so I shopped around and found a company that sells drilled, profiled, and hardened blank knives. "Add your handle and sharpen," so to speak. I ordered a blade, and when it arrived, I was amazed it passed this company's quality control process, if there ever was one. The bevels were grossly off-center to the centerline of the knife, the pin holes varied by over .010, and the hardness was in the mid-50s HRc. It might have made a nice toy, but it wasn't a knife I wanted to carry.
And that $20 blade compelled me to embark on this "hobby." Being a machinist, I knew I could do better, and I set to studying the art and design, heat treating processes, knife steels, and handle materials. Many thousands of dollars in knife-making equipment and machines later, and a bunch of badly ground blades, I started making and testing knives.
Calling Black Mountain Home
I grew up in Black Mountain. I have roamed and camped these beautiful Southern Appalachian Mountains and valleys, chased waterfalls, waded and fished the creeks, and worked here all my life. My home, shop, and knife store are about five miles west of the Eastern Continental Divide or The Blue Ridge Mountains.
The water from the Swannanoa River here in the Valley eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico via the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers. On the other side of the Divide, the Catawba River flows southeastward, finally entering SC, becoming the Wateree River, then the Cooper River, and flowing on to the Atlantic Ocean at Charleston, SC.
My tiny shop and store are located on the property where I grew up. Lying on the north side of the Swannanoa Valley, my mountain views from home look south and east across the Swannanoa Valley at High Windy, High Top, Lakey Gap, Sunset (Miami) Mountain, and the Swannanoa Mountain range. We sit about twelve "crow miles" south of Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River.
Access to the Blue Ridge Parkway is nine miles from home. I can be in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in an hour, Craggy Gardens in less than an hour, and Shining Rock Wilderness in an hour. Easy access to these wonders has helped shape who I am. To this day, the natural beauty of Western North Carolina sometimes takes my breath.
My parents and three of four grandparents grew up in Western North Carolina. So did most of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings. Many of us are still here in Black Mountain and Buncombe County, along the Blue Ridge, and my children are also here. As a child and an adult, we have enjoyed picnics, hikes, and rides along The Blue Ridge Parkway. Now my young grandson is calling Buncombe home.
My roots in Western North Carolina are long and deep. That alone guides me to provide the best products and services possible. Because quite possibly, my client is a friend, neighbor, former schoolmate or coworker, or even a family member, or maybe one person away from knowing my family or me. Because of this, you will get the best I have to offer!
"Keith was great to work with! Not only was he quick and professional, but his work with our broken knife was fantastic! We will use him in the future and I highly recommend him!"
Ezra Maille of The Black Mountain News wrote an excellent article about Keith Nix Knives. Please read it HERE!
Cooper Metts of the CPJW shot a video of my little shop. View it HERE!
Knife Making Articles HERE!
I started gathering tools and knowledge for this "retirement hobby" of making, sharpening, and repairing knives in early 2017 and made my first serviceable knife in the fall of 2019. Since I already had the specialized tools in my shop, I offered professional sharpening services for knives and scissors for friends and family.
Both jobs have blossomed, and now I have around six months worth of knives on the books to build and sharpening projects flowing in regularly. You can visit the gallery of past knife-making projects HERE.
I've always appreciated a good knife that does its job well, whatever that job may be. I constantly strive to make a great 8-inch custom chef's knife, a handmade nakiri, a hunter, or a skinning knife in a price range that regular folks like you and I can afford.
Working with steel and other metals for most of my adult life as a manual and CNC machinist and tool maker, the jump to custom knives was a natural choice. I'm constantly refining my "process" as if I'm still in a production atmosphere; for example, making or heat treating a batch of five or ten knives is more cost-effective and less time-consuming "per knife" than making them one at a time. Developing and refining my skills also saves time and improves quality, as does having and choosing the right tool to perform the task at hand.
I've studied the science of metallurgy to understand better what each element in a particular steel composition does to the finished product. I've studied deeply the steels I choose to offer for knives, and I chose these for their BALANCE of properties, such as toughness, ease of sharpening, potential working hardness, and for stainless steel, stain resistance.
At Keith Nix Knives, we offer three high-carbon steels, three stainless steels, and three tool steels from which to choose for the home kitchen or professional environment! Included are AEB-L, 14C28N, CPM MagnaCut, CPM M4, A2, D2, 52100, 80CRV2, and 26C3.
I've tested heat-treating protocols for the steels I use and offer to you. I've done all this in my ovens, and I know my ovens' idiosyncrasies. They produce results comparable to the people whose teachings have helped me achieve my goals. I am set up to do cryogenic treatment of all the knives I make, because it has been proven that a soak at -320F (yes, 320 BELOW ZERO) makes every steel stronger, harder, and more abrasion resistant to support sharp keen edges. I use the knowledge I've gained to produce the very best knives possible for folks in Black Mountain and the surrounding area. And I'll share what I know with those interested!
Learn About Heat Treating HERE!
Learn About Liquid Nitrogen HERE!
"The Norton" Fillet/Boning/Camp Kitchen Knife
Keith Nix Knives also offers Knife Sharpening Services and edge and tip repair to individuals and businesses in Asheville, Weaverville, Black Mountain, Old Fort, and Marion, NC. Call or text to book your knife or make your appointment!
Knife Sharpening In Black Mountain
Learn How I'll Sharpen Your Knives HERE!
Check The Knifeworks Store Now!
Crafted By Hand, Informed By Science!
"I've already put some good use in from working in a professional kitchen with my cleaver and 10" chef knife; also, love the quality, balance, and sharpness. Keith let me pick the wood in for the handles, talked me through blade sizes, and also the edge type that was right for me. All of my coworkers are just as in love with the product as I am, as well I've already been asked by family and friends where to get the high quality craftsmanship that I received. The handles are beyond beautiful, the blades are beyond sharp and strong, and I love how great Keith is with making sure the product meets the person and need for the knife. All around, better than anything I've ever bought from major knife brands!"
Please, PLEASE, don't hesitate to call or text before ordering a product or service online. In order for me to customize your work for you, we need to talk. Email works too, just talk to me!