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Kent Knapp

Role at Milwaukee Blacksmith: Lead Blacksmith

Role in the Knapp Family: Patriarch

Kent Knapp started blacksmithing at the age of 19 and had always been enamored with the profession because of its rich history. Ten years ago, when he had the chance to start his own business, he jumped at it and Milwaukee Blacksmith was born. Kent never expected it would turn into a full family business, but now he wouldn’t have it any other way. Kent’s anvil is 135 years old, and when he thinks of the line of blacksmiths who used that anvil before him, it makes it all the more special that he can pass his trade on to his own children.

At Milwaukee Blacksmith, Kent works alongside his three sons, his oldest daughter and his wife. Most of their work is commissions. Any custom design from a coat hook to a driveway gate. The bread and butter over the years also includes items like one-­of­-a­-kind bottle openers and wine racks. As Kent finishes up a job, he’s constantly looking for new clients to make sure his family of eight is taken care of.

When he’s not in the shop, Kent’s alter ego “The Colonel” takes over. Long before he was a blacksmith, Kent was a successful musician, playing professionally alongside world renowned artists such as Cyril Neville, Earl King, Bo Diddley and Buddy Miles.