Full out exotic- clearly, GTC's Gustavo T Cecchini
John Kiedaisch (bladeforums local who designs and makes some great tradition bushcrafters)
Not in any particular order, my favorite folder designs have come from:
Brad Southard (Downing Drop point/Hawkbill, Tozer, Daws, Tarsus)
Brian Fellhoelter (Fotuki)
Peter Rassenti (Ti Integral flipper)
Spyderco (Military), /Sal & Eric Glesser (Paramilitary 2, Calypso), /Gayle Bradley (Air), /Bob Lum (Ti Lum Chinese), /Fred Perrin (PPT)
Farid Mehr (K2)
Ken Onion (Leek, Offset)
Tim Galyean (Lahar, Junkyard Dawg)
Gareth Bull (Warlock, Warlock II)
Kershaw (Speedform, Barrage/Salvo)
Zero Tolerance/Ken Onion (ZT0200), /Rick Hinderer (ZT0550/551)
Jeremy Horton (TAC-4)
Benchmade (806 AFCK)
Emerson (CQC-10, Persian)
Chris Reeve (Mnandi, Insingo)
Trisak Jeeracheeveekul of Yuna Knives (Zen, Assassin)
In terms of both look and feel, I would have to go with Ken Onion, Mike Snody, and Jason Brous.
I can't believe I'm the first to bring up Elishewitz. Absolutely genius designer.
William Henery his E-10 and and his B11 Persian
G&G Hawk Got to love how they push the edge of lock function and I think they are doing a ZT colab the ZT0650. Also the CRK Ti-lock is a G&G Hawk colab.
Early Man who picked up the first bit of rock slammed them together and made a stone knife
A like of designs the Ethan Becker
Jens Anso, Mike Snody, Ernest Emerson, Jesper Voxnaes. No particular order, just some I've been digging lately.
1. Justin King
2. Colonel Rex Applegate
3. Lynn C. Thompson
Ken Steigerwalt (BM890)
G L Drew
Bob Loveless; Ken Onion; Jerry Hossom; Sal Glesser; Gustavo Cecchini (GTC).
Bob Lovless (classic, great looking, functional.)
Jens Anso (just plain cool looking.)
Chris Reeve (simple, clean.)
Don Hanson III
Jerry Fisk and Ethan Becker
Does a knife designer equal a knife maker? If so Alan Davis. Here is my dump pic that features my Alan Davis Custom Damascus 1095/O1.
If that doesn't count, Dave from Kingdom Armory Knives. The Bill the Butcher Folder with Spydie-hole. Awesome.
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