Mohr Custom Knives in Jefferson City is a family business that creates practical yet beautiful knives. They also find time at work to play.


A custom knife shop in Jefferson City has moved down the street to a bigger location.

Father and son team up to make knives while having a good time. Emily Stroud and Thomas Gunter

It's a father-son business where fun has a place in their work day.

"I was a machinist, a welder, a carpenter, anything that you use your hands to do that's what I did," Rick Mohr said.

Then Rick Mohr discovered knife making. His son Tom embraced it too. That interest evolved in to a business in Jefferson City called Mohr Custom Knives.

"We built a forge and I kind of got in to it and I got really good and I got my scholarship and I've just stuck with it since the ninth grade of high school," Tom Mohr said."I got a grant from the American Bladesmith Society which three kids out of the United States get one. I got one in 2010."

Most the metal they use is recycled.

"We mainly use scrap metal like leaf springs and coil springs and files and things like that, anything we can recycle," Rick said.

It starts with forging. That's Tom's job.

He hammers out the design. Next stop is the grinders for shaping. That's Rick's specialty.

"Then it goes back to my son," Rick explained. "He does all the heat treating and stuff. Drills holes in it. Then it comes back over here and we put the handle on it and finish it all up."

Their apprentice Kyle sharpens and buffs it into a shiny knife.

"To do a knife from start to finish we're talking about 10 to 12 hours if we stay on it and we're not playful and goof off," Rick said with a laugh.

It's a family business. They spend a lot of time together. So along with the work they mix in some play.

Pool is their game of choice. They play on a table in the middle of the shop.

Rick usually wins.

"One day we played 84 games in one day," Tom said. "That's not a lot but we got our work done so we just played pool for the rest of the day and I think I won seven of those games but don't tell anyone."

All joking aside, they take great pride in their pool prowess and their knives. Tom likes to teach folks how to make knives in their build a knife program.

"It's a one on one experience. You're going to come in here and it's going to be just you and a knife and two crazy goons, me and my dad. Make a knife and you're going to learn enough information to go home and start your own knife shop. And that's what I like about doing this," Tom said. "Once you do one you're going to want to more and more and more it's so addictive. But that's why I like doing it."

If you want to find your perfect knife, start picking them up.

"You'll find the one, you'll find it in you heart. That's my knife. I love that knife, and that's what makes it one of a kind," Tom said.

And he loves being part of a family business that values work and play.

"It's been a lot of fun hanging with dad all the time and just kind of goofing off and having fun," he said.

They sell most of their knives at craft shows and they also sell them at their shop in Jefferson City.

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