The founder of Archangel Blades first learned to love knives during his boyhood years in the backwoods surrounding Lake Metonga. Discover how his welding craft, his martial arts experiences, and his work with military in active service have shaped his craft.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
It all began in the wilderness adjacent to Lake Metonga. Like most knife enthusiasts, Anthony Paul Fewkes was just a boy exploring the Illinois wilderness when he fell in love with knives. More than 30 years later, the love affair is still raging for the 43-year-old father of two young girls.
Like all young boys, I had an automatic draw to knives. My older brothers both loved them, and we played survival in the backwoods by Lake Metonga. At that time, I carried a daily pocketknife. The martial arts were also a thread in my life. Those two hobbies always kept knives close.
When I became a 597 union pipefitter welder, I became really interested in metallurgy and the entire process. YouTube was the final step to the beginning of my knife making journey. Watching videos from LMK Knives and Dirty Room Knives launched my passion for making knives. Eight months after my first knife, someone discovered me on Instagram and asked me to make him a knife. Matt [Lawson] was my first customer and that created the realization that this was something I truly loved.
FROM WELDER TO KNIFE MAKER
After I was laid off as welding program director at ETI, I started knife making full-time and had tons of requests. It was at this time that someone from the Tactical Elite Training Academy contacted me and asked me if I’d make a knife for close-quarters combat for Special Forces and SEALs, etc. The Lone Operator was born.
I sold hundreds of knives over the next year, and that is my largest selling knife to date. It was a great honor to make knives for those who defended my very freedom.
After that first batch, I started taking direct orders from SEAL Teams and Special Forces. Usually they would order one-on-one or through their battalion command. They absolutely loved the fact that the knife was small and concealable.
STORIES FROM ARCHANGEL BLADES CUSTOMERS
I had a lot of repeat customers after that and incredible stories, one of which happened last year. I received a picture of one of my very first knives for the Team guys and a message from a military contractor overseas on a job.
When he was in a low-lying area with a sandbag wall, he found my knife stuck in one of the bags. I assume it was left under a high-stress situation. The contractor recovered it and wanted to return it. That was just a neat story. I can’t imagine what that knife had seen or how it helped the original user, but it made me feel like I did something good.
In 2016, I took a job in engineering for Vines VA Hospital. Now I do knives on request, as I have time. This is something I truly love, and I will continue to do as long as God allows.
Yes, knife making is everything I expected … and more. It allows me a chance to create and connect with a community unlike any other, and it is an honor to be a tiny part of it. I have been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil, and this gives me the ability to create artistically in another way.
The day-to-day challenges are time management and delivery. These are definitely a challenge because of the quality I wish to give my customer, and that sometimes interferes with delivery deadlines. It is definitely a balance that I am always trying to master.
INSIDE ARCHANGEL BLADES
In the beginning, if you asked me to describe Archangel Blades, I would have said tactical. Now I’m happy to say that I welcome any challenge. Learning the various grinds and styles of knives is and will be forever a process of growing. I love to challenge myself in what compound grind I can pull off and how exact I can make it.
As long as it’s made with my hands, I will be happy with it in the end. In short, Archangel Blades is a shop in which I strive for quality and incredible designs as original as humanly possible.
BEHIND THE NAME
Being a Christian, I think it just made sense to call my company Archangel Blades. It’s a strong name and represents good versus evil. Plus, military and law enforcement personnel have always been a constant thread in my business, and I welcome that trust any day.
IT WAS A GREAT HONOR TO MAKE KNIVES FOR THOSE WHO DEFENDED MY VERY FREEDOM.
THE UNIQUE FACTOR
I think my knives are unmistakably mine. They are artistic, but there is a definite thread of purposebuilt blades. They have to be ergonomically correct, efficient and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
PLAIN & SIMPLE
Two words to describe my designs? Bold and unmistakable.
Actually, I will use any and all. In the beginning, it was carbon, of course, but now it’s CPM S35VN to M390 and on. I love steel. Everything is heat-treated and tested in-house.
Currently, I work two hours per day. On the weekends, I work six hours one day and maybe two the other day. Family is most important, so some weekends I won’t work at all.
The most gratifying aspect of making knives is the journey. When I hand over a knife to clients, it’s great to see them light up. Sometimes they will later call or text to tell me they love it. I absolutely love my clients. In fact, one of my best friends is a past client.
Although always changing, the community is one of a kind. I’ve had the privilege of making some incredible friends and mentors, too. I hope to be doing this in my old age. I hope I get lucky. Thank you for the chance to tell my little story. I am truly humbled.
Custom Orders: First, I discuss these with a customer while on the phone or through text or email. Next, I sketch a design and send it to the customer, who approves it. Changes have and do happen in the process, but it’s a liquid thing, so I go with the flow.
Handle Material: Carbon fiber is my favorite, but I use anything. A lot of laminations with various materials are very popular today.
Kydex & Leather: Yes, I use Kydex and form my own sheaths. I recently started the leather journey.
Military Discount: Absolutely
Name: Anthony Paul Fewkes
Residence & Business Location: Plainfield, IL
Family: Wife, Andrea; and two daughters, Hannah and Madilyn
FIND THEM HERE
Company Name: Archangel Blades
Facebook: facebook.com/ ArchangelBlades