In the world of cutlery, when you mention Harry Morseth or A. G. Russell, everyone knows whom you’re talking about. Although from vastly different backgrounds, these men forever changed the cutlery industry.
Harry Morseth was 17 when he immigrated to the U.S. from Norway. He settled in Everette, Wash., where he found work in the timber business. An avid outdoorsman, Morseth knew the value of a good knife. Not content with the factory knives of the day, he set about making his own.
Working nights in the timber company’s shop, he began handcrafting knives for friends and co-workers. Known for his tough, sharp blades, comfortable handle designs, and finely fashioned sheaths, Harry brought a new level of excellence to the emerging field of handmade knives.
Indeed, from his first knife in 1925 until his death in 1967, Morseth produced some of the finest knives in the world. Prized by collectors, an early Morseth knife is a rare treasure indeed.
In 1971, unwilling to let the iconic Morseth brand slip away, A. G. Russell purchased Morseth’s shop, knife patterns, and supplies. He hired knifemakers and, using those original patterns, continued producing Morseth knives. As a result, the Morseth brand is very much alive and well in Rogers, Ark. Harry would be proud.
Born in Eudora, Ark., in 1933, A. G. Russell learned all about knives from his great grandfather, who watched AG build his very first knife. AG’s early fascination with knives would set his course for becoming one of the best-known and most respected men in the cutlery industry.
AG founded his company in 1964 in Springdale, Ark., where he began marketing a variety of factory, antique, and handmade knives. Four years later, AG sent out the first-ever direct mail promotion of knives available for immediate delivery. Entitled The Cutting Edge, the catalog introduced many knifemakers to collectors around the world. In the years to come, AG would put a lot of knives in our hands — and a lot of knifemakers on the map. He is also credited with forming the Knife Collectors Club and has been one of the leading proponents and strongest advocates of knife collecting and the cutlery industry.
In 1988, AG added a very capable business partner — his wife, Goldie.
Since then, the Russells and their dedicated staff have created a veritable cutlery empire. From simple to sublime, if you’re looking for something that cuts, you’ll surely find it at A. G. Russell.
For our latest Sporting Classics Knife of the Year project, the folks at A. G. Russell have pulled out all the stops in building two beautiful Morseth knives.
They were able to procure a small quantity of DM-1, a high-carbon steel that closely resembles the steel Morseth used in his earliest knives. DM-1 is known for its toughness and edge-holding ability. Each blade is flat-ground, satin-finished, and tempered to 59c on the Rockwell scale.
The Morseth logo will appear on the face side of the blade, with “Sporting Classics 1 of 75” on the back.
For the handle, they’ve selected a rich, highly figured Honduran rosewood, the first time this material has been used on a Morseth knife. Each knife will come with a hand-fitted, heavy leather shealth.
• The Model #2 Michigan Sportsman is a hunter’s dream. This handy knife has been in the Morseth lineup from the earliest days. The 4 1/8-inch clip point is just right for your hunting and skinning chores. At 8 ½ inches overall, this is the knife everyone in camp will want to use.
• The Model #6 Hunter’s Bowie calls you back to an earlier time when one knife could to do it all. The 6-inch clip point blade is great for general camp chores, butchering game, or splitting kindling for the evening campfire. Its 10 ½-inch length provides plenty of heft for your most demanding task.
Only 75 of each knife will be made. Twenty will be available for immediate delivery on Oct. 1; subsequent orders will be filled in 10 to 12 weeks. The Michigan Sportsman is priced at $375 and the Hunter’s Bowie at $475. You can purchase the two-knife set for $825.
Harry Morseth and A. G. Russell knives represent pure Americana. These beautiful knives are sure to find a special place in your collection.
To order, click here.