I began my interest in knife making by purchasing knife kites and finishing them as gifts for my three sons. After finishing several knife kits, I decided that I could make a better blade than I was purchasing. My wife bought me a piece of O-1 tool steel that 1 ˝ inches wide and 18 inches long.
Rather than cut the bar up, I decided to make it into a single knife. Using only files and sandpaper, I spent lots of hours getting ready to send off for heat treating. It probably took about 2 months of working at night and on weekends to complete that first knife.
From that point on the affliction of knife making began to make itself known. My desire was also merged with our retirement plans and knowing that I would need to develop an alternative to going to office every day when I reached the point in my life that retirement was a reality. So my retirement plans are make knives in my shop and be a good husband to my wife of 43 years and be part of our grandchildren’s lives.
I made a few knives to order for friends and business associates – still using files and sandpaper, until I have saved enough money to begin to purchase some power equipment to expedite the process.
My shop is pretty well equipped, with a Bader 2 X 72 belt grinder, drill press, Wilton band saw and an Evenheat treating oven. I decided to be sole authorship of my knives by bringing heat treating and tempering in house so that I can have complete control over every knife that I make.
I have also learned to make my own leather sheaths and I continue to develop my leather craft skills with each sheath that I make. Leather work is sort of an unintended consequence of making knives, a necessity to make a sole authorship knife package. The leather work turned out to be a craft that I thoroughly enjoy.
I make my knives using the stock removal process – I purchase metal that I know is good and appropriate to use and, simply put, grind everything away that does not look like the blade I am making. I specialize in full tang model straight knives, folding knives are not in my plan. My blade grinds are flat, no hollow grinding. I believe that if the flat grind is done properly, the edge will be thin enough to cut and slice well and have more strength than a hollow ground blade.
I prefer to use natural materials for the scales, or handles, of my knives. I have wood that I select sent out to be stabilized. The wood I purchase is usually some form of Maple, Maple Burl or Curly Maple. The stabilization process replaces the air the wood with polymer, making material very stable. I also use desert ironwood, black walnut, olive wood, cocobolo and ebony for scales. Giraffe leg bone is a popular material that can be made in a variety of color combinations and is another favorite material.
I also use synthetic materials, such as linen or canvas Micarta for scales. These materials are very tough and durable and make an excellent choice for knives that will see heavy use. As members of our church family have been activated and sent to serve our country overseas, I made a knife with Micarta scales for each soldier to take with them on their tour of duty.
I make knives from O-1 tool steel, 440C stainless and D-2 tool steel. I also use Damascus steel made by Alabama Damascus, Jacksonville, AL. O-1 tool steel is a high carbon steel, generally considered to easier to sharpen than some other types of steel, but needing a bit more care to prevent corrosion.
440C stainless steel is a commonly used steel in the commercial knife makers, such as Buck Knives. D-2 steel is a tough steel, very close to 440C in chromium content, it likes a satin finish because the grain structure of the metal shows through an attempt to put a high gloss polish on the blade.
I accept credit cards for payment, cash, money orders or checks. Checks must certified or cashier's check, personal checks have to clear before shipment will be made. Shipping costs are kept realistic, using priority US mail unless otherwise specified. Normal shipping via US mail run in the $8.00 to $15.00 range.
I can make knives to order, using your design or one of mine. Every knife I make is a unique item, because I do not have a machine shop or CNC machinery to make the blades. Each blade is hand made, with the final finishing done with 2,000 grit paper for highly polished effect. If a more of a “satin” finish on the blade is desired, the final sanding of the blade is done with lower paper grit that is appropriate to level of finish desired on the blade.
I am often asked. “How long does it take to make a knife?” My answer is always, “As long it takes.” I don’t operate with a time clock in my shop. How much of the clock is used to create and complete a knife project is not as important as doing it right. My desire is to make a knife that the owner is satisfied with and will, hopefully, become a repeat Customer for me. Throughout my working life, I have always viewed business as a three legged stool. The three legs are quality, service and price. Price is usually set by the market you compete in, leaving the maker to provide the legs for service and quality of equal length to price. This brings seat of business level and provides a good product for the Customer that he, or she, is happy with and perceives to be good value for the hard earned dollars spent on the knife.
If you don’t see what may tickle your fancy on my web site, please feel free to contact me by e-mail or by telephone to discuss any project that you may be interested in.