Opening the door to his newly-acquired commercial space at 350 S. Main Street on a cold February day in Heber, Jim looked around and whispered, “What am I going to do here?”
Retracing family roots in the hope of creating a better connection to the outdoors, Jim Roach moved his family from Salt Lake City to Midway on New Year’s Day 2016.
A characteristic widely shared in our community, Jim’s desire to connect with nature represents an outdoor way of life we all want to preserve in the Heber Valley. Likewise, he wanted his work and his lifestyle to fall in line with that ideal.
Jim wanted to operate a business that would be a pillar in the outdoor community, without taking away from what has already been established in our valley. And while he enjoys hiking and riding mountain bikes, Jim wanted to offer something that could be part of everyday experiences, as well as outdoor pursuits.
What About A Knife?
What can cut an apple or open a box; be carried on bike rides and hikes; clean a fish or be used on a hunt… and lasts throughout its owner’s lifetime?
The answer: a quality knife.
Like a cherished family artifact, a knife transcends generations. In fact, for decades Jim’s grandfather, who was born and raised in Midway, carried a German antler-handled blade. Seemingly a relic of another time, it now resides in a beautifully-framed display on the north wall of Timber Knives.
In a tall, clear case just to the right of the tribute to his grandfather, Jim picks up a fresh, automatic-opening pocket knife made by Benchmade. He pushes a switch and the blade flies open. “This is my story knife. It’s kind of what started all this.”
He continues on, explaining how it was — on multiple occasions — the knife he had custom laser etched as a gift to someone important to him.
It’s a gift idea he thoroughly enjoyed… and it’s ultimately one of the reasons why he decided open Timber Knives.
“I think we’re all sick of cell phones, [internet shopping], computers: we’ve all got a little caveman inside us. People want to throw a hatchet, shoot a bow, go camping, go rock climbing. I think those things are really coming around.”
“Guys Want An Axe”
Living in the mountains, Jim’s patrons might use a pocket knife for smaller chores, but many admit to him that they want to work a little harder for the mountain lifestyle. To this point Jim adds, “People can go to a convenience store and buy firewood. They moved up here so they could chop their own.”
And when it comes to axes, Jim’s wife Wendy is now an expert. “My wife wanted to get me an axe for splitting wood. She spent a month researching the best axe she could find, which led her to Gränsfors Bruk,” he says.
Gränsfors Bruk, a Swedish manufacturer steeped in a 100-year-old tradition of axe craft, typically does not do business with brand new shops. Its sales manager, however, visited the Heber Valley and fell in love with our little slice of heaven. Thanks to our beautiful valley’s magical charms — and a bit of convincing on Jim’s end — she made a special exception for Timber Knives and we now have our own Gränsfors Bruk dealer in town.
Staying Sharp For The Holidays
With blades of distinct varieties artfully displayed in its renovated showroom, Timber Knives celebrated its grand opening April 13, 2019. Despite the chill of winter still lingering in the air, folks came out to enjoy giveaways and tasty Dutch-oven cooking. Jim smiles as he recounts how much he and his family enjoyed meeting everyone who attended the celebration.
Now, less than a year later, Jim’s knives can be found on the trail, on the job and in the homes of Heber Valley residents. He may sell a knife as the classic mountain accent to leather boots and belts, or as a functional accessory to a lightweight running pack, but as Jim and his family stock up for the holiday season, he thinks back to the simple, engraved pocket knife that started it all.
Timber Knives isn’t just about personalized knives and traditional axes, though; Jim opened Timber Knives to augment the way we live in the mountains.
His knives are formed for both beauty and purpose. And somewhere in the valley, a Swedish axe splits a log — yielding a warm hearth for its new owner and keeping the winter cold at bay.
A Custom Touch For The Holidays
Jim’s favorite present idea — the one that helped inspire Timber Knives — is the gift that keeps on giving: Jim now offers the same customization to his customers, done 100% locally.
Benchmade • Spyderco • James • ZT/Kersaw • Zwilling J.A Henckels • Boker • grÄnsfors bruk