Kit Carson of Vine Grove, Kentucky, long-time knifemaker, Army veteran and member of the BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall Of Fame©, passed away Friday, Sept. 5. He was 63.
Instrumental in popularizing the flipper style of folding knife, Kit made a wide range of tactical and utility folders, the best known of which are the M16, M4 and M21. Reproduced by Columbia River Knife & Tool in a wide range of iterations, the M16 has been one of the company’s best-selling and most successful knives for many years.
As revered as he was for his knives, Kit was more respected for his willingness to teach any and all how to make them. When knives and knifemaking exploded on the Internet circa the late 1990s and early 2000s, his mentoring benefited perhaps as many new and upcoming potential makers as anyone before or since.
A voting member of the Knifemakers’ Guild, Kit spent 20 years in the Army, retiring as a master sergeant in 1993. He grew up in North Georgia, interested in all things mechanical from the start. He began making knives in 1972, the same year he was drafted into the Army. It was during his last 10 years in the service that knifemaking became an extremely interesting and challenging hobby for him. While he and his wife Betty supported their children, Kit would scrounge any place he could in government housing to grind a blade shape or handle, or try to figure out how a lock mechanism worked.
“We did not have the Internet, all the books or the specialty tools,” he said of those times in his prepared induction speech into the Cutlery Hall Of Fame at the 2012 BLADE Show. “Many of us still today do every piece by hand, filing, sanding, honing blades, slowly creating knives, spending hundreds of hours at knife and BLADE Shows establishing our names in the industry and, most importantly, making lifelong friends.”
A celebration of his life with military honors will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10, at the chapel of Coffey & Chism Funeral Home in Vine Grove. Visitation begins after noon Wednesday. At the request of family, everyone is asked to wear casual clothing and bright colors in honor of Kit’s life. Donations can be made to the National Parkinson’s Foundation at www.parkinson.org.