Michael Jarvis is working hard to take his custom knife career to the next level. Operating under the shop name Auxiliary Manufacturing, Jarvis is bringing batches of his hand shaped fixed blades to dealers, collaborating with other makers, and even thinking about production knives someday.
Jarvis summarizes his approach to knife making this way: “When it comes down to what AUX MFG is really all about, it’s clean lines, aesthetics, and function, and a dependable blade you can count on.” It’s a philosophy informed by his many years in the culinary industry. “I started making knives in 2014 as a broke cook in Chicago that wanted custom knives,” he explains. “I had been in professional kitchens since I was 13 years old so I had already had a knife in my hand daily for many years.” Many years later Jarvis would be making his own kitchen knives under the AUX MFG label, but he had a long journey ahead of him first.
Jarvis’s love for knives really blossomed after a friend (who gets the official KnifeNews award for best co-worker ever) gifted him a Jon Graham Utility Razel. “After that I took a deep dive into the custom rabbit hole and learned of all the possibilities a knife could be,” Jarvis remembers. “From that moment all I wanted to do was learn to make them.” So Jarvis then made a pilgrimage to his local Harbor Freight for a 1×30 belt sander, and was off to the races. After an extended hiatus from the kitchen to care for a sick family member, Jarvis saw his chance to make knives full time. “The rest is a blur of dust, sparks, and blood that has lead me here,” he concludes.
When asked, Jarvis points to the Bottle Rocket family as quickly becoming his most popular series. It blends smallish, tactically-inflected blade shapes with a handle that feels bigger than it is. “Not much is more important in a great knife than solid ergonomics. That being said, pictures can be very deceiving when it comes to ergonomics, especially with the Rocket Series knives,” Jarvis tells us. The fact that they seem so roomy comes from the fact that Jarvis works the 1/4″ scales on each and every knife he puts out into the world. “The beauty of being a one man op making knives by hand is that I, the maker, hold every single knife that comes out my shop and make sure it fits right in the hand and is free of hot spots.”
While he loves the idea of production arm to AUX MFG, Jarvis tells us he will approach that realm carefully. “I’m still trying to find the right way to approach that to ensure my customers are happy and my morals remain intact.” In the mean time, Jarvis keeps plugging away at a folder design when time permits, and partnering with other custom makers for unique collabs. “I’m always collaborating with other custom makers to create interesting additions to the knife works. Currently I have a few blades in the works with Sosby blades, and they be bangers!”
A fresh batch of AUX MFG blade just landed at KnivesShipFree this morning.
Knives in Featured Image: Auxiliary Manufacturing KTK, Chef Knife, Bottle Rocket, Bottle Rocket (Variant 3)