Winkler Knives II – “Been There And Back”

The demand for this knifemaker’s work, including those used by Special Ops, necessitated a change

“There are not many knifemakers who can invent themselves—and no one else has invented themselves twice,” said one knifemaker to Daniel Winkler recently.

The maker was referring to Daniel Winkler, knifemaker, whose rustic handles and distressed blades have a unique 18th century look and feel, and also to Daniel Winkler, owner of Winkler Knives II, whose knives have been accepted and carried by some of the most elite Special Ops units in the world.


The basics of Winkler Knives II knives and axes are a combination of three elements, one a 30-year top knifemaker, combined with extensive input from Special Ops operators who actually carry his knives and axes on real world missions. The third angle is from that of a cutting competition veteran. He was one of the original members of the International Cutting Championship Tour, which evolved into BladeSports today.


Winkler Knives II

A Winkler Knives II knife attached to the battle rack of a SEAL Team Six member from the movie “Zero Dark Thirty.” (Photo compliments of the producers of “Zero Dark Thirty”)

“Winkler Knives II knives are made as using knives, not collector knives,” Winkler clarifies. “We put a lot into the performance aspect, not the aesthetics.”

Winkler cites his experience as a cutting competition participant with broadening his knowledge of knife performance.

“Cutting competitions are the best learning experience in making high-performance cutlery,” he adds. “Balance, cutting, blade geometry are magnified tenfold—every flaw comes up instantly.”

“To be a serious competitor you have to learn every aspect of what makes a knife perform, good or bad,” Winkler continues. “It’s head-to-head competitive field testing.”

It’s with this background that he points out that there are no 90-degree angles at any junction in his knives and axes.

“Winker Knives II is different from marketing handmade knives,” Winkler says. “I had to draw on my industrial experience for the business end of Winkler Knives II. There is no‘make it, sell it, and buy gas’ like you can do making customs and going to knife shows. One has to take the business end more serious—there’s much more overhead.”

The overall goal with Winkler Knives II is to make a knife that will do what it’s supposed to do.

“I think if I make tools for a group staking their lives on it, then it will work for anyone’s hunting or camping trip,” he says.

Crunch These Numbers


Winkler became a member of the Knifemakers’ Guild in this year.


The year he became a member of the American Bladesmith Society.


He attained Mastersmith ranking this year.


The year he became a full-time knifemaker.


The number of years he was with his significant other until they were married this past New Year’s Eve.



By J. Bruce Voyles

Photos by Eric Eggly/Point Seven Studios and the author