Two years ago, Jim Sigg, 46, gave up a successful career as maintenance supervisor of a giant California chemical plant to come to Utah and make hunting knives.

He's never been sorry for that decision, he says, and, while he works 10 to 12 hours or more a day in his basement workshop, he considers himself retired."I go to work when I want to. I quit when I want to. I don't have to answer to anybody and I am doing what I love to do - make knives. What could be better than that? I may not really be retired, but I feel that way," he said.

Sigg lives at 8130 S. Creekwood Drive in West Jordan and calls his knife business Siggma Custom Knives. He doesn't advertise, but sets up a table or two at gun shows all over the United States where he displays and sells his handiwork. This year, he said, he will go to nearly 20 shows.

Sigg will display his knives at the Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Salt Palace Saturday and Sunday.

Such famous outdoorsmen and celebrities as retired Gen. Chuck Yeager, Outdoor Life magazine writer Jim Zumbo and three-time Olympic gold medal-winning archer Ronald Deets carry Sigg's knives on their belts.

Right now, he has so many orders for his knives that he has a backlog of six months. He has requests for single knives from sportsmen and collectors and as many as 20 knives apiece from hunting outfitters and big-game-hunting guides.

Sigg grew up in southern California, became interested in hunting as a boy and made his first hunting knife out of an old file, using deer antler for a handle.

He kept on making knives as a hobby, and gave them away to friends and relatives. When his hunting buddies asked him to make custom knives for them, he set up a shop in his home in Antelope Valley and started making hunting knives as a part-time business.

He began going to gun shows, especially the Pomona, Calif., show - one of the largest, with more than eight miles of display and sales tables. His knives attracted so much attention and he received so many orders that he decided to quit his chemical company job and start making knives full time.

A fine artist, whose oil paintings depict a variety of outdoor landscapes, Sigg carves lifelike animals and hunting scenes on the handles of many of his knives.