Roman Pokorný: Born 1966 in Moravský Krumlov, Czech Republic. Professional musician (www.romanpokorny.com) and Spyderco collector living in Prague.
I have quite a large collection of rare Spyderco knives. I have been interested in knives since my childhood. My uncle was my first teacher of throwing knives and axe. He gave me my first Bowie when I was only 6! I'm interested in history of cold weapons. I like Spyderco, because it is very open to new and ethnic influences regarding use of new steels and other materials. I appreciate Spyderco collaboration with the great world knife makers like Bob Terzuola, Bill Moran, Jot Singh Khalsa, Jess Horn, Michael Walker, Jens Anso and many others. I also love Spyderco ethnic models like Barong, Khukuri, Kris, Persian and other excellent designer models like Lava of Chad Los Banos or Dialexs Adventura. My intention is to make state-of-the-art inventive custom handles for the beautiful Spyderco knives. I'm very happy to be able to offer something special to Spyderco collectors, fans and also to myself.
Karel Kočí: Catholic priest and knife maker from the Czech Republic. One of the people behind the Custom Spyderco project. My interest in knife making goes back to my childhood. As far as I can remember, I have always enjoyed taking things apart and seeing how they worked. My parents told me I used to disassemble our chairs with a screwdriver when I was three years old. I made my first knife when I was about fifteen. It was a fixed bowie-like knife with screwed-on pommel and stacked leather handle. The knife was inspired by Karel May ‘s wild west novels. I did not like the look of it and it became lost in the abyss of time. However, I still own and use the second knife I made shortly afterwards. Another Bowie. Years passed and I have not had any opportunity to make another knife for a very long time. I am forty-four now. Five years ago, I found some web pages dedicated to knife making and I was hooked again. I started by modifying Swiss Army knives and it led me to some serious knife making. Now, I make various kinds of knives. Stick tangs, scandi knives, full tangs, as well as folders. My work can be seen on the British Blades under the nick Coscoi and on the Forums of Ramanoni under the nick Kareli. I have got a lot of friends there. My workshop machinery has also improved over the years. I started with a Dremel and a hand drill. My present main tools are the KMG clone belt grinder, vertical milling/drilling machine and also the Dremel. Well, I forgot to mention my own two hands. Two years ago, I was very lucky to meet Roman and we became friends. We were having a good time over his Spyderco knives collection. This site is his idea and I am grateful I can make some Spyderco mods for this project. It keeps me in good form, as modding of any already made knife requires more precision and concentration on detail compared to making knives from scratch. Well, my friends pick on me that I am a bloody perfectionist. I just cannot help myself.
Libor Votava: Born 1951. I have learned the trade in the late 60s in the arts and craft production company Znak, Brno. I worked there till the mid 70s. There I gained an extensive experience in producing dies, gold prints and pantographic (mechanical) engraving. I was looking for new opportunities for my progress and so in 1976 I joined the weapons manufacturer Zbrojovka Brno where I started as an weapons engraver. Through the competition from older engravers I have gained extensive experience in the field of hand engraving. In the years that followed, I have been entrusted with increasingly challenging contracts mainly for foreign customers and my work can be also seen on gifts to important political and cultural personalities. Since 1979, I have been increasingly gaining recognition in the field of manufacturing of luxury custom weapons. I benefited from the knowledge gained in 1985 when I was trained as a gunsmith in the corporate training centre. I worked at Zbrojovka Brno as an arms engraver and gunsmith until April 30, 1990. In 1990, due to new social conditions, I became independent and left Zbrojovka Brno. Moreover, I began working with other manufacturers such as Uhersky Brod, Step Brno (Kora), and Florian Arms. This cooperation continues to this day. Most of my orders come from the circle of businessmen and traders. I am versed in majority of the engraving techniques except the so-called stamp engraving which never attracted me, as well as various kinds of soft-style deep engravings - including the most challenging technology Bulin, inlaid with precious metals and woodcarving. I am currently looking for new creative processes in both the engravings and in surface treatments and their combinations, so that I can come up with some surprises for my fans and customers (and competitors) in the future.
Roman Stoklasa: Born in 1978 in Brno, Czech Republic.
After graduating from school, I started to restore artefacts of the North American Indians. I have learned carving; work with leather and many other types of crafts. It was a great experience, but I missed the opportunity of free creative expression.
For a long time I have been attending knife shows held in Brno and toying with the idea to try to make my own knives. It finally happened at the beginning of 2006 when I discovered the server knife.cz. It contains valuable information and advice on how to actually make knives. Everything I make is totally handmade. A few experienced cutters noticed some of my first products. An invitation to attend an exhibition in Prague followed. I bought a belt sander and I discovered that I jumped on a bandwagon that I can't and do not want to leave.
I began to create my own look and design and I can say that, at least in Bohemia, my knives are clearly recognizable. Now, I’m a professional knife maker, I have my new workshop which is finally large enough, my clients trust me and they give me enough room to express their ideas creatively. I started to collaborate with Roman Pokorny and we modify CustomSpyderco knives. I am certain it will be a successful venture and you will see fruits of our labour soon!
Mira Makovicka: Born in 1965, trained as an engraver in glassworks.
After my military service I went to Zbrojovka Brno where I was primarily engraving guns. I have been a craftsman for over 25 years. I collaborate with the following: Rockstad, Stefan Gobec, Roger Bergh, Hauptmann guns and many others.
I have customers all over the world, from South to North America, Japan, Europe, and Russia. I have just started to work also with goldsmiths. I’m very happy to be part of the CustomSpyderco project!
Richard Tesařík: Born in 1967 in Brno, Czech Republic, jeweler, knife maker.
I became engaged in knife making quite recently. It has been only a few years and every time I find myself working very late at night in my workshop I say to myself I shouldn´t have started this hobby. But it seems to me that the more time I spend with knives the bigger obsession it becomes. Although I am not educated in the subject of art, I have always admired different art forms, have been interested in classical photography and engaged myself for many years in music. To make and craft a knife which clicks, claps, simply works the way it really should, that is the beauty of it, but I guess I am more focused on the overall feeling. And, of course, on the artistic idea of the knife itself. For me, the magic of a handcrafted knife is still something that brought me to knives and that fascinates me. My favourites knife makers which will never stop fascinating me – e. g. Roger Bergh, Wolfgang Loerchner, Jurgen Steinau – I must and I do admire also downright technical knives for their neatness and purity, built only upon a genius idea.
I admire the technical precision and neatness of Anso or Elishewitz. But these gentlemen are more like legends today, and legends are untouchable.
I would like to recall one other legend – Arpad Bojtos. I have had the honour of personally seeing his knives quite often, and it has always been an unbelievable experience.
And what would I like to achieve?
Perhaps I wish that my work made people as happy as it makes me. I hope to feel like this for many years to come.