You may think of a knife as a simple tool, but to one Upshur County man, it's much more than that.
Michael Drost is celebrating 25 years of making hand-crafted knives, and he's one of a few in West Virginia who's still doing it.
Drost was introduced to the outdoor lifestyle at a young age.
"I think I'm same as every other West Virginia boy that the outdoors, hunting and fishing everybody's got to try and you have to make a knife at some time," said Drost.
As that interest in the outdoors grew, so did his interest and knowledge of knives.
"I just took it further than that. It started out as a hobby had no idea what I was doing. I met a few knife makers got some coaching which got me introduced to some other people and my interest grew," Drost said.
Drost started making handcrafted knives full time in the late 1980s. Knives are made in three categories using the highest grades of specific alloyed steels. Drost's knives range from everyday use on up to investment quality, and each has a purpose. He works, shapes, and surface grinds each individual blade. Heat treating is also done in his shop so that quality control is assured. Any final touches are also done by hand.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and usually the customer knows what they're looking for when they see it. They see 30 knives set out in front of them and they're scanning through there, and they just 'oh that one that's just gorgeous, I want that, that's the knife.' said Drost.
Drost said he'll let the customer in the end decide how much they'll enjoy owning a one of kind hand made knife.
"What the customer gets an enjoyment out of is the performance of the knife. The next thing I pride myself is the workmanship. So performance is #1, the work and the looks is #2. It's something that I enjoy," said Drost.
Drost won several best of show awards at a national knife show in Virginia last week.
To learn more, visit his website.