This article was produced in partnership with Ascend Agency
With over 30 years of experience, Dave Ellis is one of the most well-known experts in the custom knife industry. He is the founder of Exquisite Knives, an online store that specializes in all types of collectible custom knives.
Dave boasts a vast network that allows him to offer some of the rarest pieces from around the world, and he’s established himself as the go-to person for the most desirable custom knives available anywhere. But Dave is far more than just a collector and dealer.
“I am California’s first ABS Mastersmith,” Dave explains, “I am now retired from smithing, but retain all of the contacts that I have made over these many years.
“Long before I dreamed of making knives, I collected and used about every knife I could get my hands on: Barlow folders, Buck knives, Bayonets, you name it! Around 1987, while training in the Korean Martial Art of Hwa Rang Do, I discovered the combat usage of an edged weapon. It intrigued me enough to venture out into the world of custom knives.”
Some of the first pieces Dave owned were from Phil Hartsfield and Shiva Ki, both renowned combat knife specialists. As a bladesmith he learned from some of the best, including the late Martin Kruse and Al Barton, who have both now passed. They were his first coaches, guiding him and showing him how to thrive in the trade.
Dave also spent time in Arkansas at the American Bladesmith Society School with Hanford Miller and Keith Kilby. At the time, his primary focus was on large fixed blades with natural handles, forging his own Damascus and high carbon steels.
Dave’s hard work and dedication have allowed him to be part of some of the industry’s largest knife shows over the past 25 years, and he’s toured many cities showcasing his knives. He exhibited at the 2021 Atlanta Blade Show, a one-of-a-kind exhibition that attracts knife masters from all over the world, and he also attended Blade Show West in Long Beach, CA this past October.
These special events help keep Dave in touch with his friends in the custom knife industry, giving him the opportunity to exchange ideas and collaborate with fellow artists, and the exposure inspires his creative mindset. He also works closely with a number of celebrity knife collectors such as Sylvester Stallone.
Dave Ellis today enjoys a solid market share and is the number one dealer for highly coveted Bob Loveless and Bill Moran knives. His goal is to continue helping knife collectors acquire the most sought-after pieces in the world, and he’s working hard to expand his influence and inspire young artists seeking to venture into the space.
This article was published in partnership with Elite Strategies.
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