Arkansas has been a hotbed for custom knifemakers for many decades with a rich history of older makers passing their knowledge down to the younger folk. Such is the case with Daniel Crotts, who has perfected his knifemaking skills over the past dozen years under the tutelage of noted knifemaker Bob Dozier. In addition to being an excellent custom knifemaker in his own right, Crotts runs much of the Arkansas-Made wing of Dozier’s operation on a daily basis. On any given day he can be seen grinding blades, heat-treating steel, and directing the shop personnel in various tasks. In his own time he makes some darn nice custom knives.
Like his mentor, Crotts makes stout, no-nonsense, affordable knives with D2 carbon steel as his mainstay metal. On the gripping end, Dan’s base models sport tried and proven canvas Micarta handles sumptuously contoured to fit the fingers and palm. True to Ozark heritage, one of his most popular sellers is his Model 1 Hunter, a handy 7.6-inch overall fixed-blade with a 3.4-inch drop-point blade that can handle a wide range of skinning chores. The Model 4, at 7.3 inches in length with a slender 3.2-inch drop-point blade, is Crotts’ Bird and Trout knife.
While Dan sells the lion’s share of his fixed-blades to outdoorsmen, several of his designs are what can best be described as “crossover cutters,” or knives that can serve both sporting and tactical purposes. These fall into his Utility line of various sized fixed-blades. His Model 2 (7.6 inches overall, 3.25-inch blade) and Model 8 (7.4 inches overall, 3.25-inch blade) are double-duty drop points that would be equally comfortable skinning a deer or a robber in a parking lot.