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Boreal Community Media

A look back: A conversation with Guy Mattson, owner of Grand Marais's newest shop, Sawtooth Knife & Tool

Jun 16, 2023 03:49AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Laura Durenberger-Grunow

By Laura Durenberger-Grunow - Boreal Community Media Exclusive - June 16, 2022

Editor's note: June 16, 2023 - We at Boreal Community Media are wishing our friends at Sawtooth Knife and Tool a happy one-year anniversary! The interview below is from one year ago today. 

When Guy Mattson was about 10 years old, his cousin’s uncle gave him his very first pocket knife.

“I was completely in awe”, he said. 

Since then, he uses knives and tools for activities such as hunting and fishing, but has also discovered how useful they can be in everyday life.  He uses them so much, in fact, that he has one for every occasion. 

“I wear one every single day. Sometimes, I’ll even swap during the day depending on what I’m going to be doing”, said Mattson. 

He added that for him, his love of knives and tools is not just about carrying a knife, but he also admires the mastery, craftsmanship, and design that goes into each one. 

“If you think about it, as humans, it’s one of our oldest tools”, he said. 

And he’s not the only one who feels this way. 

Photo: Laura Durenberger-Grunow

“There’s a huge knife and tool community out there”, Mattson said.

That notion became even more apparent when he ran errands in downtown Grand Marais a year or so ago, wearing a “Benchmade” hat (for those who are unfamiliar, Benchmade is a popular knife brand).

“I would be at a restaurant or getting groceries, and people would comment on how they love Benchmade and have been thinking of picking up a Benchmade knife for x, y, z, use.” 

Around the same time, Mattson was experiencing issues ordering a sign for his law business at his office in downtown Grand Marais. He was attempting to order a sign for above the door, but kept running into issues with the order. 

“It was like an actual sign from the Universe [along with the comments he was getting from around town] that maybe I should open up the shop”, he joked. 

It was the push he needed. 

Photo: Laura Durenberger-Grunow

He got a logo designed and partnered with a local sign maker who helped create the Sawtooth Knife and Tool sign you see today hanging over the front door of the shop. “And there were no issues with that sign”, he added. 

The response, he said, has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic from the community.

Mattson was inspired to start the shop because there isn’t really a specific knife and tool shop in the area (and very few within the state of Minnesota in general). 

“There are stores that sell knives and tools, but not many that specialize in those items.”

And sure, you can order them online, but with something as specific as a hand tool that you’re going to use regularly, it’s nice to be able to see and hold them in person. Because of that (amongst other reasons) he won’t be putting most of his inventory online, at least for now. “I’ll have Sawtooth Knife and Tools hat available to order online, but I want people to be able to come in, feel the tools, and talk knives”. 

And talk knives they do. Mattson even has a section of the shop designated for “pocket checks”. This is a popular social media and YouTube activity where people share a little bit about what type of knife they happen to be carrying.

“It’s really fun to see what other people have on them when they come in. And it doesn’t just have to be pockets”, Mattson added with a smile. “Purses and bags are welcome too. I know not everyone has pockets”. 

For those willing to get a photo taken with whatever knife/tool they’re carrying that day, they’ll get 5% off. 

As for what types of items Sawtooth Knife and Tool carries, Mattson told me that he will have fixed blades, folding knives, axes, saws, and EDC, which stands for Every Day Carry items available.

“Every Day Carry items are anything you can carry in a pocket, purse, or bag, every day”, said Mattson. 

Some examples are pens, small notebooks, titanium sporks, and more. 

Photo: Laura Durenberger-Grunow

“I’ve selected the inventory I carry based on my own personal use and good reviews from others”. He can tell you stories about many of the knives and tools he carries in the shop, and how they’ve helped him throughout his day-to-day activities. He also tries to carry as many American-made brands as possible.

His passion and knowledge immediately comes through as soon as you walk in the door. 

Sawtooth Knife and Tool will be opening for the first time on Friday, June 16th, 2022 at 10am. 

The store will be open Friday and Saturdays each week. If you’re in town during the week and want to stop by, Mattson will be taking appointments for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Closed Sundays and Mondays. For now, he plans to be open year-round. 

Sawtooth Knife and Tool

101 Hwy 61 W.

Grand Marais, MN 55604



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