Veteran knifemaker Joe Kious, popularizer of the “Pocket Locket” style of high-end art folder and long-time Knifemakers’ Guild member, passed away Dec. 5 as a result of injuries suffered in a vehicle accident.
A resident of Kerrville, Texas, Kious was a full-time knifemaker who sold his first knife in 1969. He specialized in investment-quality interframes and bolstered folders, some bringing up to as high as $10,000 apiece.
However, it is his Pocket-Locket models for which he may be best remembered. Featuring elaborate engraving, the folding knives include a small compartment in the handle with a sliding panel that slides back to reveal another engraved scene inside.
“Joe was a staunch supporter of the Knifemakers’ Guild and believed in handmade knives,” said knifemaker and fellow Guild member Edmund Davidson. “Joe had a wonderful personality, was very easy to speak with and would tell you anything you wanted to know. He held nothing back and had no secrets. His knives reflected a great deal of thought, craftsmanship and artistry. He was a true master and genuine person. He will be sorely missed. When we lose a man of his caliber, we are all diminished.”
“Joe was a gentleman who loved his family, friends, enjoyed shooting, fine scotch and making knives,” noted Michael Donato of KnifePurveyor.com. “Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
A member of a close-knit group of Texas-based Guild knifemakers that includes Warren Osborne, Tom Overeynder and others, the stately Kious was liked and respected by most everyone who knew him in the industry. A lean, handsome man with a full head of grey-white hair, he was soft-spoken but never at a loss for words or a well-thought-out opinion.
Though he did not make BLADE® Magazine’s 40th anniversary list of top knifemakers—he received enough votes to make honorable mention—his Pocket Locket was chosen No. 6 among the most important custom knives of the period from 2001-2012 in the magazine’s 40th anniversary list of top custom knives.
“Joe’s Pocket Locket is important because it is the most flexible engraving platform ever offered,” noted custom knife purveyor Paul Shindler of KnifeLegends. “It includes many models and styles but offers pretty much endless possibilities for the imagination of any collector. The Pocket Locket may be the most important engravable knife ever conceived.”
Added Donato, the Pocket Locket “has a very high ‘cool factor’ to it and has served as a canvas for many of the best engravers to work their magic. Joe’s Pocket Lockets are featured in many books, magazines and great collections worldwide.”