A Little About Me...

I was born in 1940 (older than dirt), in Heald, Texas. This little town was never very much, but today there is only the 100 year old Methodist Church that still has services occasionally, or a wedding once in a year or so. After graduating from high school in Amarillo, Texas, I went to West Texas State University and graduated with degrees in Art and English Literature and a minor in science.
I spent 25 years in the oil industry and retired early in 1988 as sales manager to become a full time knifemaker. For many years, I had done custom gun work as a hobby, and was asked to make a knife for a gentleman for whom I had built a custom rifle. The rest is history, I guess, since I haven’t built a gun since I sold that first knife. The price was $8. That first knife was built in 1966 in Denver, CO.
We were transferred to Phoenix in 1972 and I met Dan Dennehy and Don Wieler in Yuma that fall and they both shared a lot of ideas on equipment and construction with me. Dan invited me to join the Knifemaker’s Guild in July 1973, which I did in Kansas City. I was elected to the Board of Directors of the Guild in 1976. I was then elected Secretary/Treasurer in 1978 and President in 1983 and 1984. After a one year Vice-President stint, I resigned from the Board for two years to concentrate on my knifemaking. I was re-elected to the board in 1988 and served as a director and two years as President again until 1998 when I felt I had definitely had more of my share of that fun!
My specialty is fancy using knives with an occasional bowie thrown in for balance. I believe that the important aspects of knifemaking are craftsmanship, top drawer materials, and a steadfast work ethic. My wife Pat, has been doing a lot of my engraving. She was helped by Julie Warenski, but has developed her own style of engraving. At this time, she works exclusively on my knives. We have been married for 49 years, have three grown children and four grandchildren.
Over the years, my shop has been open to almost anyone who wanted to take the time to come by. Currently, over 75 makers of custom knives give me credit for strong influence on their work. It is my opinion that I got far more from them, than they ever got from me.

D'Alton Holder


Partial List of Awards:

  • 1975-1990 Arizona Knife Makers Association
    (Organized and served as President)

  • 1993-1997 Arizona Knife Collectors Association (President)

  • 2000-2001 Arizona Knife Collectors Association (President)

  • Charter Member of the Board of Regents of the American Knife and Tool Institute.

  • 1981 The Red Watson Memorial Friendship Award
    (when it meant something to the guys who knew him)

  • 1983 American Firearms Industries “Award of Excellence”

  • 1991 The Beretta Award

  • 1997 Blade Magazine’s Publisher’s Award

  • 2003 Knife Maker's Hall of Fame Inductee

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