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The Cutlery Barn Oct 31 08

The sign says “Cutlery Barn.” I’ve seen it countless times driving up Lincoln Lake Road past the turnoff to Fallasburg Park north of Lowell. I always assumed that some outdoorsy type was manufacturing hand-made knives, and being a knife lover, I’ve been curious about the place. On a couple occasions, I’ve pulled into the drive, but the shop appeared closed and I left without knocking.
A couple weeks ago, I finally caught the doors open and the owner available. He may not craft his own blades, as I had thought, but Clarence Worst is nevertheless the proprietor of one fabulous operation. If you like knives—and what hunter, fisherman, hiker, or camper doesn’t take an interest in so essential a piece of outdoor equipment?—then you owe yourself a visit to the Cutlery Barn. You truly will feel like a kid in a candy store. And I don’t mean just any candy. We’re talking Godiva Chocolates, many at Snicker bar prices.

It’s not my normal practice to write about retail operations in these Waterland Living blogs. My interest is to craft outdoor articles, not free advertising. Every once in a while, however, I stumble across a venture that I find unique and exciting, and that I connect easily and integrally to the outdoor experience—something too good not to pass on. The Cutlery Barn fits that description.

The first thing that will strike you when you walk through the door is the remarkable variety and quantity of the inventory. This is far more than a place to go and purchase a Buck knife. You’ll find those here, to be sure, but you’ll also find a huge selection of specialty cutlery, collector’s items, swords, throwing knives, spears, Bowie knives, stilettos, survival knives…the list goes on.

And of course you’ll find hunting knives. That’s what you’re really after, right? Something you’ll be proud to strap to your belt or slip in your pocket when you head for the grouse woods, the hiking trail, or the hunting camp; a piece of quality outdoor cutlery that looks great and performs flawlessly. Take a tip from me: after you’ve been to Gander Mountain and Cabella’s, visit the Cutlery Barn. You’ll congratulate yourself on your wisdom, and you’ll be delighted with what you find.

Need a pocket knife? Clarence showed me a case that displayed twenty-two different styles of bone-handled beauties. They were a make I haven’t seen elsewhere, and I would have snapped one up in a heartbeat had I not already set my sights on a couple throwing knives. These magnificent little folders were just for starters, too. How about an Old Timer? You’ll find a selection of those venerable, discontinued pocket knives, along with many other makes and models, all at extremely reasonable prices. The pocket knife selection alone is worth the trip.

But chances are you’re looking for a sheath knife. Once again you’ll be beyond pleased. Here in this little shop out in the sticks, your greatest problem will be the frustration of having to choose from so many beautiful pieces of steel. You’ll find knives sporting handles of leather, wood, synthetic materials, and bone; knives that range from the ruggedly functional to staghorn handled works of art made for both the eye and the field. A number are of a quality you’ll feel certain puts them well beyond your budget. Not so fast—you just may be in for a delightful surprise. True, the Cutlery Barn isn’t giving knives away. But everything is reasonably priced, and sometimes remarkably so. You just may walk away with something you never imagined could be yours.

Clarence began collecting knives back in his high school days, and he’s retired now, so he’s had many years to acquire his knowledge of cutlery. The Cutlery Barn is his retirement occupation. Since the variety it offers in hunting knives alone can seem a bit overwhelming—the photos in this blog give you just a small sample—I asked Clarence to pose with one of his personal favorites. He gave the matter a little thought, then selected an elegantly simple knife.

A great knife is part and parcel of the Michigan outdoors. If you’ve got the woods and waters in your blood, treat yourself to an hour at the Cutlery Barn. Whether you walk away with a new knife or just a few ideas, you’ll consider your time there well spent.





Written by Dave.