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Chris Reeve Knives

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Chris Reeve made his first knife out of necessity. He was serving in the South African military and he needed a knife but couldn't afford one. He was, however, a toolmaker's apprentice, so he made one and discovered an affinity for knife making that has led him from crafting one knife at a time to founding internationally known Chris Reeve Knives.

Reeve and his wife, Anne, emigrated to Boise in 1989, picking the city because it was large enough to keep their budding business afloat, yet small enough to let newcomers "find their feet," Reeve writes on chrisreeve.com.

Chris Reeve Knives now has 30 employees who assist in the manufacture of folding and fixed-blade knives, each of which can be inlaid with mother of pearl, amber, hematite, tiger's eye, almandine garnet, amethyst, blue star sapphire or triple mosaic opal. An artist on staff creates one-off designs by hand for extra. Knives start at about $200.

All Chris Reeve Knives come with a lifetime guarantee and free regular maintenance. Reeve's original dream was to be a world champion grand prix motorcycle racer and though that didn't happen, he channeled that energy into knife-making, and a "passion to be the best in the world never left [him]," he writes.

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