Tom Roark and 5R Knives


Knife making was on my bucket list…


I own and operate Western Sales, a little machine shop used to create products for the cattle industry. A side business is handcrafting cowboy gear… headstalls, spur straps, etc. and a lot of custom knife sheaths. My passions outside of my occupations always required a knife at the ready: hunting, fishing, all things horse-related: roping, starting colts, training, showing, working cattle, branding, gathering, riding mountain pastures, and high school rodeo for the kids! I was looking for a more custom product than the knives I had been using. I just couldn’t find what I needed for the money. Eventually I made a custom sheath for a knife maker and ended up trading the sheath for a few lessons, which turned into lots of hours and many, many late nights!


That introduction got me started, but this story is really about a lifetime journey!


My parents were self-employed in the sign business, a family tradition that turned out to span a few generations. That side of the bloodline produced designers, artists, painters, carvers, cartoonists, silver smiths, photographers, leather crafters, and more. Each generation seems to unearth artistic talent. At 22 I bought the family sign business and ran it for 29 years in Colorado. I spent 48 years working with, hiring and managing a lot of designers and artists, which gave me a good background in the arts. Fortunately, the other side of my family is more of the “steady”, practical farmer and businessman types…which brought balance and grounding!


So back to my life outside of work… Lots of time spent in the backcountry of Colorado, riding and packing horses and mules to hunting and fishing camps etc. (with a not-so-sharp knife flopping on my belt like a small sword) got me to dreaming of a better solution! My wife and I sold our sign business (2006), our home, and little hay farm on the Front Range (2008), and moved to Brush, Colorado. We purchased Western Sales (2009) and one thing led to another. We enjoy spending time with our kids and grandkids whenever possible.


What makes a person?…genetics?…environment?…personal choice and responsibility? I’d like to think all of the above. So the Businessman, the Craftsman, and the Outdoorsman all come together with a passion for making knives of QUALITY, BEAUTY, AFFORDABILITY, AND PRACTICALITY. Each knife and sheath combination is designed, built, and detailed so that you can have a unique, beautiful, one of a kind work of art that is comfortable and excels in its use. I constantly strive to find new and better ways to bring excellence.


God, Family, Friends…. God Bless America!