Making a high quality custom knife NZ I will only utilise the best quality materials I can source and am constantly striving, through practice and research, to improve the products I make. All of my hand made knives are currently produced using 01 tool steel BS EN 150 49571; 2000. This steel was developed for making cutting tools and is the steel of choice to make the tools used to make tools! With the right heat treatment, developed and refined following extensive research and experimentation, carried out in my purpose built computer controlled oven with constant testing on my Rockwell tester, ensures consistency and quality.
This gives knives of the highest performance with an awesome balance of cutting ability, meaning they take a true razor sharp edge, hold this edge through extended periods of use and yet remain relatively easy to sharpen with normal sharpening equipment. This is continually being tested via edge retention, impact resistance, flex testing and real world use, combined with ongoing research ensuring best practice at all stages, feedback is always gratefully received.
I use G flex epoxy resin, more expensive but viewed as the best currently available being developed to bond different materials together in the marine environment and to retaining an amount of flex, following curing, giving an extra degree of security especially on hard work knives.
Most of the shaping of my blades is carried out on my purpose built belt grinders and although most of my grinding is carried out by hand and eye, I do utilise grinding jigs to ensure specific bevel angles are achieved in the production of `Scandi` or zero ground knives, essential to ensure the correct performance required of this style of knife.
I do my own stabilizing of various materials, a process which begins with months of drying and curing the material first on a simple and then in my purpose built drying cabinet. This is followed by 12 hours in my PID controlled oven to ensure total drying has taken place, they are then finally put under vacuum, with cactus juice resin, for as long as required to remove all of the air often around 5 to 6 hours. The timber is then left in situ to ensure good absorption, normally 3 to 4 days until the final step of baking takes place. This allows good looking timbers to be used which would otherwise be to soft/ porous. I also make what I like to call my own cardinal mosaic pins, I like to think symbolizes my knives are good to travel to all 4 corners of the globe. I also make my own Loveless bolts to again ensure quality is maintained.
I currently make only a limited number of what I think of as my `base models` to focus on quality and performance and not fashion fads, unrealistic fantasy blades or even things I feel would not show my work in the best light. Despite using templates for the initial marking out, saving time on already developed curves/ lines, pilot holes etc. I conduct all grinding, shaping and finishing by hand and eye allowing every knife to develop its own unique appearance and personality.
The constant testing involves not only the in house testing undertaken but also relies heavily on the feedback received from others, the true test of any item. This comes not only from the feedback of valued customers, I hope are friends in the making, but also from me sending out prototypes to friends and acquaintances, who I know will use and abuse the knife and give me an honest critique, whilst using the knife for it`s intended purpose.
I approach my leather work, and more recently my Kydex work, with the same ethics I bring to my knife making, to make the best most serviceable product that I am able to produce, with a constant striving to improve my skills in all areas.
Please note that each full knife and sheath combination takes me around 12 hours to complete. This is however spread over a number of days, for various reasons such as my heat treatment process which takes approximately 9 hours (though of course much of this is waiting time for blades to cook), drying times for resins/ dyes etc. allowing me to progress other areas of different builds, but does not include the separate time required to build my own mosaic pins/ loveless bolts or the many months involved in producing stabilized timber scales and lets not forget the time required to run a business which I am sure many know much better than I.
With the ever more positive feedback comes an increase in confidence and pride in my work, pushing me to continue on my journey of producing the best knives I can, knives with everything you need and nothing you don`t, meaning I can concentrate fully on the quality and performance of every blade I make.