Local man follows passion of creating handmade knives
South Carolina native Lynn Hardison was raised close to the water in Hampton where everybody had a knife. Growing up, he was always tinkering with different projects, helping his dad build something or fix another thing.
“My dad always had something going on - that’s just what we did,” Lynn said. “We hung out in the shop working on things, making things.”
So naturally, Lynn, as an adult, always had a project he was working on. He just never expected these projects to create a business. After somewhat falling into this world of knife making, Lynn, along with his wife Daniel Island School teacher Amy Hardison, is following his passion of creating custom-made knives for his business - “Hardison Knives.”
Always interested in woodwork, four and half years ago, Lynn started making gifts such as cutting boards and carved wooden bowls for his friends and family. Amy began posting Lynn’s designs on the Internet and soon the couple began receiving requests for the woodwork.
The transformation to a knife company was a bit of a fluke. One day Lynn was bored and made a knife by hand that he brought to the flea market to get sharpened. The sharpener noticed that is was not professionally made so introduced Lynn to an expert knife craftsman so he could learn. From there on, Lynn centered his focus onto his new passion of creating interesting and practical knives.
He has a sketch notebook filled with his original designs - ideas he has for good functional knives. In these pages are a range of designs including oyster knives, fillet knives, hunting knives and everyday knives. Once one seems worthy, he builds many of the same design and hands them out to friends for field-testing to see what can be better and what is great.
“[I’m] trying to make a useful tool that is functional and beautiful at the same time,” Lynn said.
He works mainly out of his garage that is attached to the family’s house in North Charleston.
The process begins with collecting wood and cutting it before he dries it in the garage— a process that can take a year. Once he has wood for the handle, Lynn creates the blade with either recycled or store bought metal by outlining the shape then cutting and fine tuning with a grinder. Next step is cutting and sanding the wooden handle before gluing it onto the blade and polishing the whole piece.
“Start to finish everything is done right here,” Lynn said.
Still with a full time job as a superintendent at Landmark Construction, Lynn designs the knives at night after work and on the weekends. Amy is in charge of marketing the company and the knives through social media, where she posts videos, pictures and updates often.
Currently Lynn is concentrating on filling orders that have a waiting list that extends to early November. Customers can send ideas for the desired knives, although Lynn does have stock designs that include an oyster knife that doubles as a beer bottle opener.
To check out Hardison Knives, go to the Facebook page Hardison Knives or the website http://www.hardisonknives.com/. The business started the fundraiser “Knives For Kids” where it auctions off knives and donates all proceeds to individual families to assist with medical bills.