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About Us

Rose City Knifeworks

A project manager, a therapist, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt walk into a bar. Several hoppy beers later, a smithy was born. Rose City Knifeworks was founded in a garage in 2014, with the goal of creating beautiful and modern professional kitchen knives for culinary professionals and enthusiast cooks. Rose City Knifeworks was founded by Joe Walters and Paul Kolba. We are both Portland transplants and have been friends for over a decade. We started Rose City Knifeworks to create something unique and personal in a town that encourages taking risks, being adventurous, and being a part of a creative and artistic community.

The Founders

Joe is originally from Wisconsin by way of Nashville and comes from a family of creatives and artists. Joe’s background is in operations and project management but his passion has always been working in his smithy. He first started to learn about bladesmithing at a young age and has been creating pieces ever since.

Paul comes from a family of engineers, builders, and individuals who always have dirt under their finger nails. He moved to the US from Canada to get his graduate degree in clinical psychology and has worked for a number of public health agencies in Portland before hearing the call of creating once again.

Our Design Philosophy

Our philosophy for designing and engineering a knife can be summed up in two words: Precision and Beauty.

Precision

We engineer our knives to be the lowest possible weight for their purpose. A lighter knife is more agile, requires less effort to use for longer periods, and it reduces strain on joints and muscles when used for long periods.

A well balanced knife is precise instrument. Our knives are designed to be properly balanced at their grip point giving you confidence to work with them in highly precise and technical tasks.

The handles of our knives have no sharp edges or points  where one typically grips them. These are called “hotspots”. These minor edges and points become a serious comfort problem if you use your knife for hours a day. We ensure that our knives feel just as good on your eighth hour of use as your first fifteen minutes.

Comfort and ergonomics is an essential property of a good knife. The forward slant of the handle gives you a comfortable grip point while also reducing contact with the spine of the knife. The gentle swoop of the handle ending in a beak gives you a comfortable hold on your knife when slicing roasts.

Beauty

We apply classical design principles to the overall aesthetic of the knives we produce. The profile and lines of our knives evoke motion and direction. The cants and curves tell you how to hold the blade and where to rest your hand. We avoid obvious ornamentation to emphasize form. The handle materials we use are thoughtfully chosen to complement the design. All the parts are brought together in a single, continuous form.

Nature loves simplicity and unity.
— Johannes Kepler

Our goal is to create beautiful knives accessible to anyone who is passionate about the food they make and the people they serve.