"I have spent most of my life involved in the study and production of edged tools and weapons. I have taken a well rounded approach to my studies combining my experiences as a custom knifemaker, a commercial knife overseer, a researcher of edged tools and weapons throughout time and around the world, experimenting with modern materials with commercial applications, teaching and lecturing on modern and historical bladesmithing and studying martial arts.
I was a custom knifemaker for nine years concentrating on high performance carbon steels and functional designs for a variety of hunting, outdoor and martial arts applications.
My commercial production experience was a direct result of my high quality custom work and led to my 25 year relationship with Cold Steel, Inc. I began consulting on steels, heat treatments and edge geometries and then spearheaded their move to US production and the commercial use of high performance carbon steels. My responsibilities included every aspect of production from rough drawing to finished knives and included training operators and quality control personnel, designing and making fixtures and gauges and establishing manufacturing procedures.
My research in historical and ethnographic edged tools and weapons and my study of martial arts led me to major improvements in my functional design capabilities and in the selection of materials for maximum performance. Over the last ten years of experimenting I have spent countless hours making blades and testing them and in that time I have spent over $6,000 in metallurgical examinations and almost $18,000 in books and research materials.
My research also led me to develop a project which very accurately replicates a Norman sword from 1100-1150 AD using commercially produced blades which have been successfully tested by 15 different martial artists from a variety of styles. The performance of these swords has confirmed my theories of design, materials and construction and deepened my respect for the ability of the ancient smiths.
I have also been actively lecturing and demonstrating at a variety of seminars which has exposed me to many excellent craftsmen, martial artists and edged weapon scholars. Between the seminars and trips to museums and private collections from around the world I have examined and handled some of the finest examples of the bladesmith's art ever produced." -Dan Maragni
Dan Maragni is a master bladesmith with 40 years of knife-making experience as a custom designer and with Cold Steel and OKC. An expert in knife materials, heat-treating, and edge geometries, Mr. Maragni blends historical knife concepts with modern engineering techniques, ergonomics, and the anatomy of fighting into his designs. Mr. Maragni is the genius behind a large number of OKC’s products including the GEN II series and the Agilite line.
Spec Plus Gen II Knives
Custom Designer and Inventor
"With my Dad (Mel Pardue) being a Knifemaker, I had the opportunity to learn the 'Art of Knifemaking' at an early age. After years of apprenticing, dedication and developing the skills necessary to make and design knives, I find that well designed utility tactical, high quality knives are my passion. My knives are tools to be used, and are designed with that in mind." -Joe Pardue
Joe Pardue is the son and former apprentice of legendary knife-maker Mel Pardue and an accomplished custom designer and inventor in his own right. Mr. Pardue envisions knives as tools that are meant to be used, and his top selling folding knives are designed with that in mind. In addition to creating the Utilitac series, Mr. Pardue is the inventor of Ontario Knife Company’s revolutionary new T.A.O. assisted opening mechanism.
Designer & Sheath-maker
Paul Scheiter is the founder of the custom sheath company Hedgehog Leatherworks LLC and a vocal advocate for the advancement of the Bushcraft community and its skill set. Mr. Scheiter is also an award winning knife designer for Ontario Knife and the creative force behind the Black Bird Series, which embodies Scheiter’s personal values of function and simplicity. In 2011, Ontario Knife Company’s Black Bird SK-5 won the “Best of the Best Hunting Gear” award from Field and Stream Magazine.
Benjamin Bryant, SSG (ret) is a 20-year veteran of the United States Army, where he served as a cavalry scout and gained extensive, first-hand experience operating automatic weapons. After leaving the service, Mr. Bryant invented a series of ground breaking, heavy-duty gun tools designed to rapidly disassemble and reassemble the MK 19 automatic grenade launcher, the M2 machine gun, and the M-240B machine gun. These gun tools are exclusively produced and distributed by Ontario Knife Company.