Jens Anso

Jens ANSO
  • Surname: Jens
  • First name: Anso
  • Country: Danemark

Could you depict a self-portrait ?

I have been a knifemaker since 1988 and have been fulltime since 2001. I started making knives in 1988 after reading an article in an old issue of Popular Mechanics and I made my first knife out of a big file using a benchgrinder and a drillpress as the only powertools. It was big and crude but I was very proud. Since then I have been hooked on knifemaking. My knowledge in knifemaking comes from reading books and magazines about knifemaking, corresponding with other knifemakers and not the least learning by trial and error. I also credit the various forums about knives and knifemaking both for information, customers and friends.
I have always had a great interest in craftsmanship and get inspired by all sorts of things ranging from traditional Japanese carpentry to modern architecture. I have a master's degree in Industrial Design which has helped me a lot in refining my knife designs. After graduating I decided to become a fulltime maker and although it has been hard at times I have never looked back. I like being able to do what I like the most and enjoy being my own boss. I feel very fortunate that I can make a living of something I love so much. My workshop is my cave. I love being in the shop surrounded by tools and materials. Being able to do creative work everyday is a blessing. I like working from home which means I can spend more time with my family and work when I want.
Besides knifemaking I have a few other interests when time permits. I have been rock climbing for some time and really enjoy the thrill of it. So far I have only been climbing on artificial walls since mountains are pretty scarce in Denmark but I love the thrill of it. Shooting handguns is another passion I have. I like the almost meditative state of mind it demands which really makes you relax and focus but also enjoy a little bit of "action shooting". I have some good advice for future knifemakers. If you don´t want to make your second knife, don´t make the first one. All the people I know who have made a knife have been completely hooked. I know for sure that I am.

How have you come to balisong, and why do you like this kind of knife ? How have you come to produce balisongs ?

It started when I was asked by Felix Sheng if I would be interested in working together with him for a balisong project, the T2. I found it very interesting and we began to work on the project....a few months later at the Sicac show two years ago I met Duane Weikum...He gave me a couple balisongs to play with and ordered some balisongs from me and I was hooked! I like the balisong for two main reasons...it is the strongest folding knife periode! and they are fun to play with....I like building folders and balisongs offer something a little different.

What is your source of inspiration, your muse ?

I get inspired by all sorts of things...a walk though nature or the city...reading books or magazine....architecture gives me great inspiration.....recently while riding the Metro in Paris I looked out the window and down on the tracks and saw a very interesting pattern that inspired me to a new kind of texture I am currently developing....

Is balisong a knife which permits you to artistically express yourself ? Does it better than for another folder ?

I find balisongs different to design compared to folders but they do give me somewhat more freedom since I am not restricted the same way because of the simple construction of a balisong.

Wich material do you prefer for blades (different steels) and handles (Titanium, g10, brass, wood) and why are they your favorite ?

I mainly use RWL-34 or Damasteel...both stainless powder steels produced in Sweeden...I have found them to be superior to most steels offered today and I feel they have a perfect balance between edgeholding, strenght and ease of sharpening for the end user.

Do you use CNC machine or do you work exclusively manually ? What do you think the CNC machine brings ?

I do not own or presently use the service of CNC machining... I make all in my shop with manual machines...I do however not look down on cnc machining..I think it is a great asset to the knifemaker if used right. And afterall a cnc machine will not make a finished knife. It will help the knifemaker make a better knife.

Do you EDC a bali ?

I do not carry a balisong as I prefer carrying a folder. I do however have several balisongs spread around the house and workshop where I spend most of my time anyway, so I always have a balisong nearby to play with.

Do you flip balisongs ?

I have learned a few tricks but nothing too fancy. I like to flip balisongs and do it every now and then.

How would you describe your creations ?

My knives have a certain feel to them...in my opinion caused by design and craftmanship... my designs are mostly quite different from what you see from other makers and I like that... it comes natural to me to design like that.

Which advice could you give to an amateur or professional knifemaker which wants to start making balisongs ?

Buy some different balisongs and take them apart to see how they work.

Do you envision to make spring latch balisongs ? (if you don't already do it)

Yes... I am currently looking into that.

According to you, how will the balisong evolve in the future?

I do not feel the future of the balisong will be much different than it is today... it will have a strong following but due to the bad reputation, strict knifelaws etc I do not think it will evolve much .

Thank you Jens for taking the time to answer our questions.

Jens ANSO

Retour au menu