Friday, August 27, 2010

Late August Bench Update

Updates and progress for late August…

This isn’t really ALL that’s on the bench, but most at least. The picture below has the new Kukri/machete, which isn’t above, and its missing the three oyster/toffee knives, and the Blackthorn blade, which will get its own post soon I think, I think that there are a couple other ones missing too, hard to keep track.

Obviously there are a couple of knives that are almost done. From the top … Paring knife with bocote handle – which is undergoing kitchen testing; Wood carving knife with tulip handle; Revised Santoku with redheart handle (requenching a thin factory blade didn’t well, so it will do kitchen duty at home as well); Odd kitchen chopper with Coccobolo handle; and a smattering of others which aren’t quite as done.

If these don’t look quite the same as the blades on the right side of the first picture, it’s because they evolved a little between the two pictures, under the grindstone. From the top: 1080 Kukri/Machete; CPM 154 Bowie; S35VN Hunter; (right) Small File steel knife; and a pair of utility knives, and they have moved on since this picture too. One of the utility knives is going to be Tanto style now. And the Bowie is looking pretty sweet (if I do say so myself J).

The Blackthorn Knife is progressing well, as are the toffee knives – and I hope to finish them very soon.

More soon...I hope :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Perfect Knife

You’d think that as a knife maker, it would be my goal to make the perfect knife. Or at least the perfect knife for me. But what is that? Do I have the skills?

Problem 1: I like the function of folding knives and generally prefer the appearance of a fixed blade. OK, so that isn’t too big a deal, I can certainly work the ideas together from a design standpoint.

Problem 2: Folding knives are a pain in the butt to make. My shop is pretty basic, and precision machining is not really within my repertoire. I’ve made 3 folders so far, and the first one turned out the best. Isn’t that backwards? 1 and 3 are liner locks, and 2 is a lock back, so it was a different mechanism. I like the solidity of a lock back, but liner locks are easier to make. 3 is my carry knife at the moment, and it doesn’t snap closed right. Reaching into a pocket for a wallet and coming out bloody from a partially opened knife is not a good thing. Otherwise the knife is pretty good. But not perfect.

Problem 3. I like assisted opening knives. And don’t know how to make one. I had a great little knife from SOG , a Flash II ( ($84), and lost it a year or two ago. It had a few issues. A: Partially serrated, some people like it, I don’t; B: The lock wasn’t in the right place to make the assisted opening useful. Grab knife, try to flick open, locked, use other hand to unlock, flick. Not good; C: Not hard enough, so lost its edge too soon; D: Not the most ergonomic handle. Pretty much everything else was awesome, the assisted opening mechanism, the low clip, the TiNi coating, the size. I was sad to loose it, but I never replaced it either.

I think the next step up in a factory knife for me would be a Benchmade 585BK MiniBarrage, an assisted opening, plain edge, harder/better steel, Benchmades Proprietary BK coated knife. $140. (

I’ve thought about buying either a kit knife or a new assisted opening knife, ransacking it for parts, and making my own blade, but that seems like cheating. I did pick up a lockback knife kit, and plan on doing some part mimicking, despite the cheating aspect.

Problem 4. I don’t really know what I want it to look like. That’s really a big problem. I can figure out the blade shape I think, since I like drop points. And I like a relatively short blade – I don’t usually do a lot of big cutting jobs. Should feel substantial, but not heavy. I like natural materials for a handle, but there are so many!

I can usually figure out what I don’t want it to look like. For example, I love the technology behind the diamond blade friction forging, and the function seems spectacular – superhard edge but not brittle, effectively stainless. But I don’t like the appearance of ANY of them. No offense guys – just not my style. I also can’t afford them (this one is $495).

Maybe the real problem is that there is no perfect knife, even for one person, but I think that I might just be approaching the time when I am ready to start trying for it. And, successful or not, sometimes it is the journey, not the finish line that is the real benefit.