100 Percenters Handcrafted Knife Invitational

100 Percenter Tom Overeyender // photos Kathy Tran

Handmade artistry has become rare in an age that champions efficiency and speed. But a small group of knifemakers is pushing against that trend, choosing to craft cutlery completely by hand.

On July 20, members of a group called the 100 Percenters will come to Plano from all over the country to showcase their finest knives during the fifth annual Handcrafted Knife Invitational. This one-day, free event will take place at The Shops at Willow Bend.

The host and founder of the event, Cutlery Collection owner Karl Monk, is excited about introducing the Plano community to some of the most talented artisans in the business.

“It’s a real opportunity to see some world class knifemakers,” says Karl. “It gives people an opportunity to see something they don’t typically think about.”

100 Percenter Tom Overeyender // photos Kathy Tran
100 Percenter Tom Overeyender // photos Kathy Tran

Having owned and operated various cutlery shops across North Texas for the last 40 years, Karl is no stranger to the knifemaking industry. In 2014 he started hosting this event to preserve and promote this art.

“The 100 Percenter group is a growing number of craftsmen who prefer to do all the work of creating something that collectors appreciate,” says Tom Overeyender, a 100 Percenter from Arlington who will be showcasing his work.

Although many modern knifemakers have started utilizing automated machinery or outsourcing their knifemaking, the 100 Percenters strive to keep alive the handmade tradition.

“Our way is not saying that we are superior to any other methods to make knives; it’s just our way of doing business,” says Tom. “I get great satisfaction creating a very fine piece of cutlery that is collectable and appreciated by users and collectors the world over.”

Collectors and aficionados travel a great distance to see the knives displayed at this event because, Tom says, “fine knives are in a category of fine art, just like painting or sculpture.” While people unfamiliar with the industry may initially be shocked by the price, he says once they begin to understand the intricate crafting process, “they gain appreciation for what we do.”

Handcrafted knife by Tom
Handcrafted knife by Tom

For Karl and the 100 Percenters, that’s what this event is all about: educating the public on the value of handmade knives and gathering people from the industry.

The inaugural event had less than 10 knifemakers represented. Then word spread and people began to take notice, even high profile industry leaders. Among the 30 plus knifemakers showcasing work this year is Kevin Klein, a 100 Percenter who has appeared on the History Channel’s “Forged in the Fire,” a competitive television series focused on the art and craft of knifemaking.

The Invitational prioritizes space for attendees to talk with artisans and ask questions about the craft; the knifemakers themselves love this engagement. “That’s the nice thing about this show; you can talk to these guys,” Karl says. There’s no pressure, no rush or hustle or trying to make sales. It’s just a relaxed event.”

The 100 Percenters Handcrafted Knife Invitational runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 20 at Cutlery Collection inside the The Shops at Willow Bend at 6121 W. Park Blvd in Plano.

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