I'm Jared Lees of J Lees Knives. I make carbon steel kitchen knives for pro chefs and home cooks, as well as field knives for outdoor enthusiasts.
J Lees knives was founded in 2017, and since then I've made nearly 300 blades for customers, friends, and family.
My career as a musician unexpectedly led to my passion for making knives after several friends who handcraft custom bass guitars sent me beautiful scraps of figured wood to use for handles. Side note, my passion for music is also why there's a bass clef in my makers mark. To my surprise, my business developed quickly as super supportive fans who followed my music began buying my knives as well.
I started out making knives via stock removal but have since switched to forging most of my blades. What I have noticed more than anything is how much less waste I produce in the process, which is really important to me. I try to get the most out of the materials coming into my shop as possible and recycle whatever can be recycled.
Akron has a pretty awesome knife making community; guys like Andrew Wasnac (@colonyknifeco), Ronnie Smith (@rsmith0082), and Nathaniel Everett (@lunarlightforge) help me refine my skills and inspire me to be a better maker than I was the day before.
All that said, I'm excited to continue to grow as a maker and see where this little business takes me!