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Butch Vallotton

Like many hobbies this one got out of hand and I was soon spending more time at it than I should. Needing money to replenish my materials and primitive equipment I began selling knives. I met some people along the way that suggested that if my knives were prettier and more professional they might bring a little more that just material replacement.

Always being a gadget freak I was always experimenting with actions and other unusual stuff even my first fixed blade knives had hollow handles accessed by a pivoting pommel. The Automatic actions came easy and I educated my self as to what was already being done. It was a natural step to modify them or adapt my customers desires to them, many of the actions were simply a customer saying I want the button here, they didn't care if it wasn't possible. My background is as diverse as can be with a natural mechanical ability and great interest in most things mechanical I am having fun.

I have been a full time knifemaker sense 1984. I started making Auto's in 1987 and it became the major part of my business. Encouraged by the late Larry Hogan I began making simple double notch folders and some Italian style folders, the Italian pick-locks soon became my most sought after knives. My friend Chuck Karwan suggested that I make a form of Chute knife which were very large single action folders in heavy stock.

This progressed to a series of knives we called the SOF series starting 1992 we introduced the first 30 knives at the Soldier Of Fortune show in Las Vegas and sold out. The next eight years we produced 50 regular, 10 officers and 5 generals a new desigh every year and had a repeat customer list.

I made one of the first, if not, the first custom draw-bar OTF knives in 1993 called the Viper and many of these are still around. In 1987 I came up with a action I called the Drop Bar action that assisted the blade in opening and it was written up in fighting knives in 1992.

I was asked by Bill Harsey to help with a project for Col. Rex Applegate and he and I came up with the Applegate-Fairbane folder that Gerber Legendary Blades has been producing sense 1996. I did not start making knives until my late 30's and did not know that the custom industry even existed until a year or so after I started making my own knives. At first I was only interested in high quality blade materials and there edge holding ability, Holt Heat Treating was close and had what was considered the best steels around then for sale with other knife making materials in a small shop.

I have been making a sliding blade knife I call the Two Step which works well as a boot, neck, and horizontal belt knife.

I am presently working with Gerber Legendary Blades and they are using one of my actions on there FAST technology knives. I have had the good fortune to work with Lone Wolf Knives, Timberline Knives, and Microtech. Spyderco is presently considering one of my designs.