An Overview of the Process
I make knives of my own design, usually one at a time, and almost completely by hand. I will neither copy another maker's design, nor build something that does not meet my standards of design, aesthetics, material selection, and performance. I design fixed blade knives for kitchen and household use, as well as those to be taken along on a wilderness expedition. I stay clear of overtly "tactical" pieces designed solely as weaponry.
I start with detailed pencil drawings that include every component of the knife and sheath. I spend A LOT of time at the drawing table! Whether its to work out the mechanics of a cam welt in a sheath, or to determine the exact placement of a punched hole, or to "see" that the entire piece exhibits continuity and flow.... this is an invaluable process. From those initial drawings I create templates used to trace out the blade, handle, and sheath along with its various parts. Then the real work begins!
My blades are shaped by forge or stock removal using a variety of carbon steels such as O1, 1084, 1084FG, 1095, 5160 and 52100, as well as pattern welded and laminate steels. Occasionally I'll use salvaged plow share steel to form smaller blades (such as "Caper Dashi"), but a known steel composition is paramount to achieving optimal performance in any blade, especially a larger blade designed for heavy use. I heat treat, temper, grind, and sharpen all my blades whether they be of full tang or hidden tang design.
I like working with copper, brass, and wrought iron, as well as natural materials such as bone, antler, and a wide variety of woods including my favorite species - firewood.
I agonize over achieving perfectly flat, flush surfaces and seamless joinery. I will spend weeks, if not months, searching for the perfect antler taper or piece of iron. I'll sweat through many hours of hand sanding to achieve a perfect 2500 grit blade finish. And, I like a VERY sharp edge! I take great pride in the fit and finish of my work.
I make my sheaths from quality leather and hides, and occasionally I'll make a hybrid sheath combining a wooden casing with leather components. I like doing inlays and I also make all of the decorative components such as conches, beads and tassels.
In short, I try very hard to create a knife to the the exact image I initially started with..... even if that means making everything that goes into it. In the end, when everything is polished and honed, I am proud of what I have created, and equally as confident that my customers will enjoy many years of use from my knives.