Former Air Force Cop Turns Professional Knife Maker
12/22/2017 – Although the connection is life-long, the career as a Security Forces member is finite. We move on to other professions be it in civilian law enforcement or any number of other fields of endeavor. Saratoga Springs, New York native (and self-described Okie transplant), Denny Furey has forged a diverse post-career path like so many others. He served on active duty from 1989 to 1993 and followed up with stints as a civilian law enforcement officer and in the Air Force Reserves. He currently resides in Spring, Texas, a northern suburb of Houston and teaches martial arts/combatives, as well as an adjunct professor for an online university. While he was working in law enforcement in early 2009, Furey fell ill and was diagnosed with renal cancer.
“There was a point where I started feeling really lousy and after some tests, they found I had a stage 3 grade four carcinoma,” he said.
Eventually, Furey’s treatment put his cancer in remission, but at the loss of one of his kidneys. Presently, his health is good and he continues to work out and lead a healthy lifestyle. Between teaching in academia, practicing martial arts, and juggling family life, Denny finds time to build a business inspired by his passion for all things edged; knife making.
Furey says a fellow patrol officer who knew of his background in collecting knives and weapons instruction, urged him to give knife making a try.
“I thought about it and it seemed like a natural progression because of my years of collecting and training, so in 2015, I invested in the equipment I needed to start,” he said. “I jumped right in and fortunately, seemed to have a knack for it have sold every knife I’ve ever made.”
With that, Furey’s Urban Combat Knives-Unlimited, was born. He began with what he knew best; combat. Fighting, and self defense style knives. His experience as an instructor afforded Furey an in-depth understanding of the ergonomics and tactical applications of combat knives so in his words, it was a “natural fit”. He uses bar stock steel to heat and shape his pieces which are not limited to just combat knives. Furey also offers kitchen knives (which the author is waiting to field test), hunting knives, and multi-use tools. He says he has learned a lot in the last two years, but there is a lot more regarding metallurgy and other factors which will take him to the next level as a craftsman.
“I’m going to move on to the next logical step of forging my own steel, such as Damascus and San Mai, but what I do right now is a step toward that in the learning process,” he said. “Forging requires quite a bit of metallurgy and color recognition when working on a piece and I am getting there.”
Being a cop both in military and civilian law enforcement was the impetus for a pet project he developed over the past couple of years. Each year, Furey donates four pieces to various organizations for charitable causes.
“When I was in the Air Force or in a civilian department, we always had each other’s backs,” He said. He added; “When I was sick, my brothers and sisters in blue were there for me, so my business is a great way to give back and pay tribute to them.”
His first donation piece was a commemorative Security Police/Security Forces knife a friend had suggested. His friend’s old unit at Dyess was hosting a fundraiser, so Denny crafted the piece and donated it for a raffle at the reunion. As it turns out, that particular knife sells in the 300 dollar range and the Dyess group managed to raise over 400 dollars on that knife alone. From there, Furey knew he had found his way to give back. Of course, the business opportunity was staring him in the face as well.
“I started posting the Dyess knife and some samples on alumni pages and it took off from there,” said Furey.
The base SP/SF knife is a ringed combat style knife unique to him, but can be customized for just about any facet of the career field to include CATM, K9, Ravens, etc. Eventually orders for Army, Navy, and Marine versions came in and to this day, Denny has even crafted a custom “urban tomahawk” for a Navy Seal. He says most of the traffic he gets comes through his website and LinkedIn as well.
As for the donations, he says he chooses four entities per year to receive a custom piece for their charity. There is a list of criteria to weed out posers or fakes, as he puts it and the submission period begins in November with a minimum of 90 days notice to complete the knife before it is needed. All he need is an email detailing the need and organization.
“I had to consider the time required to produce these knives and still meet my retail customer’s needs, so right now, four is pretty much the limit,” he said.
After a body of work spanning two years that has been featured in Blade and Deer Hunting Magazines, Furey’s comfort zone as a craftsman is affording him the opportunity to showcase his wares at the largest knife show in the country, Blade Show, 2018 in Atlanta. While there, he will feature his commemorative military knives, multi tools, and everything in between. He says he will offer something for every budget from a 60 dollar tool to a 1000 dollar blade at the show along with other special offerings.
“I plan on selling my first two knives featured in Blade Magazine with a signed copy of each issue to go along with them,” said Furey.
After that, it is back to Texas and a very busy schedule of being a dad and a husband, teacher, and craftsman. What began as a hobby of collection has turned into a creative passion that not only supports those he loves, it gives back to those who have given selflessly; and to a guy with a lot of irons in the fire, so to speak, Denny Furey thinks that is a cut above the rest.
Mr. Denny Furey, MA
Interview and Article Completed by Scott Noble, Former Security Police/Forces
Comments are closed