Born in Coolidge, Arizona, Travis Wuertz is a fourth generation Arizona native. Rather than continuing the family’s nearly century-long tradition of farming, Travis instead has made a name for himself in knifemaking and machinery.
After attending his first knife show at 12 with his father, Marvin, Travis took an intense interest in custom knives. Marvin and Travis’ mother Kathy arranged lessons with Western Bladesmith and ABS Master Bladesmith Tim Hancock for Travis’s 13th birthday; since then Travis’s knives continue to be impressive combinations of elegant design and power. Recently, one of his blades was named Best Fixed Blade at the 2017 International Custom Cutlery Exposition.
Travis’s early start in knifemaking inspired a level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that carried directly into engineering and fabrication. After a decade of college at the University of Arizona funded by making custom knives and building prototype parts for professors and graduate students, Travis graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an ME in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. Ethanol production and building competition pulling tractors started his grad work, but he wrote his actual thesis on the design and development of the TW-90 Vertical and Horizontal grinder.
After enjoying great success and winning two different episodes of History Channel’s hit show Forged in Fire, Travis currently can be seen on History Channel’s Knife or Death serving as Blade Specialist where he evaluates the construction, safety, effectiveness, and overall bad-assness of each contestant’s blade.