Coye Knives goes full time
I met with Bill Coye last week over brunch. He caught me up on what has been happening with Coye Knives, a Tulsa, OK custom knife manufacturer (you may remember the Coye “Light Horse” fixed blade featured in Issue 8). I was curious and asked what was new in his ‘knife making world’. Much to my delight, I found out that he has recently left his former full time job (he owned and operated a company that specialized in cleaning up meth labs, suicides, and crime scenes) to pursue what he was passionate about — building custom knives.
Working those crime scenes allowed him to test his prototype knives under harsh conditions. He quickly found they could stand up to a lot abuse, and soon was building them in his spare time for local LEOs, paramedics and firemen (Bill is a former flight nurse who also worked as a medical contractor in Afghanistan). The resultant overwhelming demand for his knives finally convinced him to put down his crime scene gear and pick up the grinder full time (#doyouevengrindbro). He moved out of his garage and into a shop in order to accommodate full time needs. Setting up shop away from the house apparently delighted Mrs. Coye for a number of reasons, including some problems associated with making the custom Kydex sheathes (because of small external dimension differences, all Coye knives ship with a sheathe made specifically for that knife, regardless of model).
The Coye household bagel story is a good example of what occasionally garnered Mrs. Coye’s disapproval. In order to make individual sheaths for his blades, he would heat the plastic in the household toaster oven so it would shape properly. At one point she asked, “Bill, do the bagels taste like plastic to you?”
The incident apparently amused me far more than it did Mrs. Coye. The toaster oven was replaced.
In addition to a new, dedicated shop, there is a whole new website that should go live sometime this weekend or perhaps the first of next week (http://coyeknives.com/). The new website will feature Coye Knife “swag” (patches, t-shirts, etc.) but will not have a point and click purchase option. More on that later. There are also new Facebook and Instagram pages to showcase the brand (the official Coye Knife Facebook page is here, you can find them on Instagram here). You will not be able to purchase knives from the web or Facebook page. The new website will have a newsletter option and that newsletter will announce when he is next opening his “order book”. You will want to watch for that; the last time he opened the order book was September 21st. It was open for 24 minutes and he sold everything he had. He tells me he has about two months of work to do right now, then he’ll “open the book” again.
“I won’t take more than a month or two worth of orders,” Bill will tell anyone who asks. “That’s a road I just won’t go down. I don’t want to be that knife-maker who is making knives a year out. It isn’t fair and it isn’t the right thing to do.”
Bill’s drive, his willingness to abandon a successful and lucrative career for the risk of establishing his own brand is a textbook example of American entrepreneurial spirit. I have admired Coye Knives for a while now. I am proud to own one and I look forward to what the future brings for Bill in the pursuit of his dream.
Note: Here’s a quick video from a couple months ago, made by Billy Cho of Rifle Dynamics.
Here is another video, this one featuring one of Bill’s first folders.
That new “official” Facebook page URL again is https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coye-Knives-LLC/406173902821154. Keep an eye out for the Boker production Coye Ridgebacks too, by the way. The sub-500 serial number knives of that run are appearing in Europe right now; they should be here in the US within the next couple of months.