We’re pleased to feature Behring Made Knives on Knife Planet, for our “Know Your Knife Maker” series.
> How did Behring Made start? How did you get into Knife Making?
James Behring was born and raised in Michigan and spent his early years in the world of American handmade knives with his father, Jim Behring, the owner, operator and maker of Treeman Knives. Upon graduating from Oakland University, James was offered an official apprenticeship by his father where he learned the art and craft of making handmade knives, all the while polishing his unique business acumen. Fascinated by Montana’s premium outdoor opportunities, James always had a desire to move out west and lead a simpler life, and decided after nearly a decade of working for his father that it was time. He started Behring Made™ in Missoula, Montana in June of 2011 and since that time has grown his team with two additional craftsmen, Travis Williams and Kyle Motl, with Grant Cunningham to handle front end operations. As a team of four, Behring Made™ produces anywhere from 100-175 handmade knives a month- and we’re only just getting started.
> What does a knife represent to you?
A knife is a companion, but what good is a weak friend that can’t be trusted in a tough situation? A cutting tool that is not reliable is ultimately worthless and many knives today are built with emphasis on speed, cost efficiency, or style while the simple recipe for dependability is ignored: high quality materials, proper grind geometry and most importantly, heat-treat. We make our knives by hand to ensure that each step of the process is done right, and we guarantee every blade that ships out of our shop will maintain true on your side so the both of you can create a lifetime of memories afield.
> What distinguishes you from other businesses in the knife making world?
Our laid back atmosphere, can-do attitude and genuine obsession with customer satisfaction creates a truly pinnacle experience for those that choose Behring Made™. When you buy a knife from us, it’s an investment and through function, feel and form we guarantee satisfaction. We’re regularly met with new concepts and designs from our client’s demanding needs and we do everything we can to meet those requests with “no problem”. In addition, our lead time is notably shorter than most collectors are used to- custom orders ship within six weeks of being placed, though sometimes it’s even closer to two. If we build a knife for a customer that isn’t exactly what you desired, we sell the original in our Online Store and with fresh notes head back to the forge to make sure you get what you need.
Showing up to work! We are a team of avid outdoorsman and regardless of the season, there is always something calling us deeper into the backcountry- from the pursuit of bugling bull elk in the early fall, to deep turns in fresh powder on the ski slopes through the winter, backpacking the in the spring and of course fishing Montana’s beautiful rivers in the lazy summer heat.
> What’s the most popular knife that you sell?
New customers tend to gravitate toward our Trout & Bird to start their collection. It’s a classic shape that comes in a 4”, 5” or 6” variation and it’s the ultimate all-purpose knife for any field necessity from dressing game to carving steaks at the table.
We strive to make the finest cutlery on the market and are always trying to push the envelop to make them even better. Customer feedback and our own field trials mean a constant challenge to our methodology, and this ensures that we are on the forefront of the American Handmade knife industry.
> What is your favorite steel?
01 tool steel has been our primary go-to for it’s dependable simplicity, but we also use 5160 and 1095 spring steels for the larger blades, or 440c for stainless requests. However, if a customer has a steel preference which we do not offer, we’re happy to meet the need- the only difference being that the blade is heat treated by a professional third party rather than here at the shop.
> How can people keep Behring Made knives sharp?
There’s no substitute for an experienced free-hand on an Arkansas whetstone, but to easily eliminate the variables we recommend and offer the Triangle Sharpmaker from Spyderco at wholesale cost. It’s super easy to use!
> Tell us something interesting about Behring Made.
Our wide array of top shelf materials tends to be the biggest surprise on shop tours. We offer beautiful exotics like fossilized and artifact walrus ivory, stabilized giraffe bone with blacks, blues, greens and reds, hippo teeth, musk ox boss, premium sambar stag, oosik, buffalo, dall sheep, moose, elk and/or mule deer antler as well as an endless variety of exhibition grade burl wood like Desert Ironwood or California Redwood, to name a few.
I’ve been collecting knives for over 7 years. During all these years, I've collected knives from all over the world, ranging from Argentina to Myanmar. Besides knives, I'm an avid traveler and I love hunting and fishing.