Making a high quality custom knife NZ I only use 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 and tested on my Rockwell tester I ensure consistency and quality. I am however currently testing other steels to assess their suitability for specific knives/ situations.
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 bevel knives, essential to ensure the correct performance required of this style of knife.
I stabilizing various materials, a process which begins with months of drying and curing the material first in my purpose built drying cabinet. This is followed by 12 hours in my PID controlled oven at 100 degrees to ensure total drying has taken place, they are then finally put under vacuum, with stabilising resin, for as long as required to remove all of the air, this can take 5 to 6 hours. following this the item is then left in situ to ensure good absorption, normally 3 to 4 days until the final step of baking the resin filled item at 94 degrees for 2 hours. This allows good looking timbers/ products to be used which would otherwise be too 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 currently make a number of blades I think of as my 'base models', mainly following Bushcraft/ survival and hunting styles to focus on quality and performance and not fashion fads, unrealistic fantasy blades or 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 bevels/ 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 old and new who I know will use and abuse the knife to give me an honest critique, whilst using the knife for it's intended purpose.
I approach my leather 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 can take me 12 to 14 hours to complete. This is however spread over a number of days, for various reasons such as my heat treatment process which takes 9 hours (though of course much of this is waiting time for blades to cook) and drying times for resins/ dyes etc. allowing me to progress other areas of different builds and other chores such as making my mosaic pins stabilising 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.