Growing The Dream

McKee’s final impetus to pursue knifemaking came from an itch he’s been scratching all his adult life. “I can’t say there’s anyone specific who has influenced my work,” Tiger notes, “But, like all things, I’m sure I’ve been influenced by work I’ve seen. A big motivation for making knives was, regardless of what knife I handled, there was always something I didn’t think was ‘right,’ ” he confesses. “I’ve studied a good bit about design and function and have strong ideas. It’s the same for firearms and shooting gear — everything I have has been modified. Ultimately, the only way to express my concepts was to bring them to life.

“About eight years ago I decided to make the Shootrite instructors gift-knives for Christmas. After that, I was hooked,” laughed Tiger! “I began making a few. The first year I made around 10 which I sold to Shootrite students. Every year I made more, selling them all. I thought, ‘Hey, here’s a hobby that pays for itself.’ In 2018 I made 72 knives and about half of those were custom orders.

“I sell a lot of knives to law-enforcement, but my main clients are just normal guys and gals,” states Tiger. “A common comment I get is the knives ‘feel good.’ I spend a lot of time on getting a lightweight knife that’s well balanced. To me it’s all about size, shape, weight, and balance.

“This October I got my first commercial account,” Tiger adds. “A knife shop in Huntsville, Alabama ordered 10 of my knives to sell. I’ve known the owner for a long time and had taken some knives in just to get his ideas. I was surprised when he ordered 10 knives to resell. This realization I might actually be decent at what I’m doing, prompted me to expand my knife making, taking some time away from teaching firearms and devoting it to my blade work.”