About Cliff Fendley
Knives - LaGrange, KY
I was born and have lived most of my life in LaGrange, Kentucky, a beautiful rural community in the north central part of the state. Since I was a small child I have hunted and fished in the woods around my home and learned early on the importance of good reliable gear including a good knife.
I took production engineering and served on the welding team in FFA while attending high school. I wanted more knowledge and machining skills and attended machine shop classes at a local vocational school after graduating high school.
I spent a lot of time with my grandfather on the farm growing up and I farmed through high school and part time afterwards until I started my own excavating company. This further expanded my machine shop skills from having to maintain the heavy equipment used in my business. One day I happened to get a job doing some excavating work for one of my neighbors, knifemaker Gil Hibben. I was excited when I saw his knifemaking shop and realized that many of the tools and skills needed for making a knife were not very different from what I had been doing for years in my own machine shop.
I have always been mechanically inclined and later I got involved in championship truck pulls. I built a competition truck and had several successful years in the sport winning numerous events and four different points championships. In doing this, I learned to fabricate and machine my own parts and acquired a good understanding of how different metals perform.
In 2004 Gil called me up to help him with some drainage work around his place. When I showed more interest in making a knife myself he was kind enough to help me with a private knifemaking class and started on my way to becoming a knifemaker. I learned that many of the skills I had already learned applied to making knives and Gil taught me the rest. Since then Gil and I have become close friends and through Gil I have met and learned from a lot of other knifemakers. Iíll forever be indebted to him for his generosity of his vast knowledge. Since then I have added and built equipment geared specifically for knifemaking to my shop and have been refining the way I make knives and developing my own style.
I primarily make hunting knives and have sold quite a few to the many hunters in this area. This allows me to keep up with how these knives perform in the field as well as doing extensive field testing on my own. By doing this I have made numerous refinements and adjustments to achieve what I believe are excellent hunting knives. I now have a fully equipped knifemaking shop and continue to test and refine my knives. I work with a variety of steels and handle materials depending on the intended use of a knife or the preferences of a customer. I commonly use 440C stainless steel in my knives as it has continually proven to be one of the best all-purpose knife steels available. I also use ATS34, D2, and have some CPM154 knives in the field for a couple years now and am satisfied with their performance and now offer knives for sale using it.
Leather working has also been an interest of mine since I was a child. Since I was making knives, I had to make sheaths and this resparked my interest in leathercraft. This led me to expand into making handgun holsters. I studied many of the old west style holsters made by some of the legendary craftsmen of the 1800s and they became the inspiration for my gun leather. I have tried to maintain those legendary styles that served so many so well for over 100 years while also offering alterations and refinements to better suit modern day handguns.
I currently make knives and holsters for custom orders and, as time permits, make some to sell at shows or on my website.
If you are interested in having me make a custom knife or holster for you, please contact: