Russell Montgomery’s knives are handmade works of functional art prized by chefs, hunters, and many others.
“I’ve been a collector of knives as long as I can remember,” says Houston knifemaker Russell Montgomery of Serenity Knives, whose first blade was a Buck that he kept in the front pocket of his jeans when he was 10. “How many kids have a Buck folder? I was constantly making spears.”
Montgomery now makes knives by hand in his garage turned workshop in the city’s Heights neighborhood and sells them to chefs, such as Houston-based James Beard Foundation Award-winner Justin Yu (Oxheart, Theodore Rex), and home cooks, too. He’s made knives for people with rheumatoid arthritis who need special handles, knives for hunters, and tactical knives for military and police.
“Whatever it is you do, you should have a knife to go along with that,” Montgomery says. “You can do so much with them, from preparing food to cutting down a tree to spreading peanut butter. Knives are very task-oriented tools.” His knives are made one at a time — first by shaping a blade out of high-carbon stainless steel on a belt grinder that whirrs and whittles down the rectangle of metal. The handle might be carved from either Texas pecan or mesquite, both durable and strong woods. Start to completion, each knife takes about eight hours to make. “Looks are always secondary,” he says. “I want it to do whatever task it’s designed to do and be comfortable in your hand.”
For more information on Serenity, visit the knifemaker’s website. Photography: Courtesy Serenity Knives.
From the October 2018 issue.
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