Robertson's Custom Cutlery custom knives Les Robertson knife expert
customknives@comcast.net | 706.650.0252
20
JAN
2020

RCC YouTube Knife Videos

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Robertson’s Custom Cutlery has added some new knife videos to our YouTube page. 

Click on the knife photos below to check them out… They may give you an new perspective on a few of our custom collectibles.

GREG KEITH FORGED DAMASCUS BOWIE WITH STAG

Greg Keith Damascus Forged Bowie Stag

Greg is an ABS Journeyman Smith.

BOB TERZUOLA TACTICAL RESPONSE FIXED BLADE KNIFE

Bob Terzuola Tactical Response Fixed Blade

This Limited-Edition run, serial #02, was a private order that ceased after 5 were made.

JOEL CHAMBLIN 3 BLADE STOCKMAN SLIP JOINT FOLDING KNIFE

Joel Chamblin 3 Blade Stockman Slip Joint Folding Knife Stag

Clean precision work is the hallmark of Joel’s work. One of the best slip joint knife makers in the world.

RON GASTON F-14 FIGHTING KNIFE WITH MAMMOTH IVORY

Ron Gaston F17 Presentation Fixed Custom Knife Mammoth Ivory Harpoon grind

Only F-14 I have ever seen with a unique harpoon grind on top, full tapered tang and dovetailed bolsters. Exceptional knife!

Be Sure to Subscribe to the Robertson’s Custom Cutlery Youtube page for future knife videos.

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Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

Greg Keith Damascus Forged Bowie Stag
31
DEC
2019

NEW MAKERS, NEW KNIVES & HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020

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Robertson’s Custom Cutlery welcomes two new custom knife makers and wishes everyone a Happy and Healthy NEW YEAR 2020!

We at Robertson’s Custom Cutlery would like to welcome custom knife makers Greg Keith and Paul DiStefano.

GREG KEITH FORGED DAMASCUS BOWIE WITH STAG

Greg Keith Damascus Forged Bowie Stag

Greg’s Bowie has great balance and excellent handle ergonomics. The curved guard allows the user positive control of this knife.  The fuller in the blade and the angled pommel really adds to the overall look of the knife.
Greg is an ABS Journeyman Smith.

PAUL DISTEFANO FORGED DAMASCUS BOWIE WITH DESERT IRONWOOD

Paul DiStefano forged damascus bowie desert ironwood ABS Journeyman Smith

Paul’s Bowie has great balance, a slight curve in the primary edge gives it exceptional cutting ability.  The handle’s unique flair at the end of the handle, provides the user excellent control of the knife no matter how they hold it.  Paul is an ABS Apprentice Smith.  I expect when he tests in June of 2020, he will become a Journeyman Smith!

Join us in welcoming these two talented custom knife makers to Robertson’s Custom Cutlery!

 

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Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

David Broadwell Forged Damascus Sub-Hilt Ivory
09
DEC
2019

GREAT COLLABORATION

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Cheers to David Broadwell & Josh Fisher for a beautiful custom knife collaboration.

David custom made this MLR Sub-Hilt fighter with the Wolf’s Tooth Pattern Damascus forged by a very talented Journeyman Smith, Josh Fisher.

Notice the unique “crushed ice” liners which accent the damascus. Les thinks David makes the finest sub-hilt fighters in the world.

$3,450.00

David Broadwell Josh Fisher MLR Sub-Hilt Fighter Woldf Tooth Damascus Forged ABS Journeyman Smith Custom Knife

 

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Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at customknives@comcast.net or (706) 650-0252.

16
NOV
2019

NO RESTOCKING FEE

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NO Restocking Fee on Returns

 

Over the last few months, I have been fortunate enough to acquire several new clients.  I usually try to ask how they learned about us or why they decided to make a custom knife purchase from Robertson’s Custom Cutlery.  This time I received the same interesting reply from a couple of different collectors. They said, “Partly because you don’t have a restocking fee if I want to return something.”

 

I found it odd that a business selling custom knives would do this. Perhaps, this is more common than I know, but is something I have never done.  I have very few custom knives returned, but when you buy a knife from Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, you have a 5-day inspection period.  Within those 5 days, you may return the knife for any reason.  While you will have to pay return shipping, there is NO restocking fee as long as it is returned in the same condition it was sent to you

 

fixed custom knives Gordon Graham damascus cc hunter knife with sheath Robertson's Custom Cutlery damascus hunters fixed blade

What is a restocking fee?  If you buy an item and are not happy with it, you can send it back; however, there will be a 10% – 15% restocking fee deducted from your refund.  Normally, I would associate this return policy with a large retail store that keeps thousands of items in inventory and has to pay the employees to replace the item.  If a business has that many items in stock, you may want to ask, what level of custom knife expertise do they really have with all those knives?

 

To help insure you will not need to return a custom knife, ask questions. If you’re having a hard time deciding between 2-3 knives on our website and want to discuss the pros and cons. The leading expert on custom knives, especially fixed blades, is happy to help. Les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com At Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, our priority is providing you with the custom knife that best suits your needs and interests so you will love your knife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

11
NOV
2019

HONORING OUR VETERANS!

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Take time today to remember and honor those who have given their time and more

to our country so that we may ALL live free in America.

HAPPY VETERAN’S DAY!

Ricardo Vilar Vaquero Forged Damascus Bowie Stag ABS Journeyman Smith
23
OCT
2019

WELCOME 2 NEW CUSTOM KNIFE MAKERS TO RCC

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Robertson’s Custom Cutlery welcomes two new custom knife makers to our website.

We at Robertson’s Custom Cutlery would like to welcome custom knife makers Ricardo Vilar and Michal Komorovsky to our lineup.

Les was introduced to Ricardo by Jerry Fisk at the 2005 Blade Show where he earned his Journeyman Smith stamp.  Jerry spoke very highly of Ricardo and his work.  At the time, Ricardo was living in Brazil.  Today, he lives in Nashville, AR.  If that sounds familiar to some of you, that is the same town in Arkansas that Jerry lives in.

We have been talking for the last few years about working together.  Finally, in October of this year I received my first knife from Ricardo.   The knife was exactly what I expected. It was well balanced, clean craftmanship and excellent handle ergonomics.  All this at a value price of $1,225.00.

If you don’t have one of Ricardo’s knives in your collection, you should.   If you are a Bowie collector, I would heartily recommend this one which is currently available.

Michal Komorovsky began making custom knives in 2011.  He went full time in 2013.  He is a member of the Slovak Association of Knife Makers.  This organization is similar to the US Knifemaker’s Guild.

Les started communicating with Michal Komorovsky from Slovakia in May of this year.  We all know that it can be difficult to judge a knife by only a photo.  Michal sent me several photos of the Thuban.  After several emails, looking at these he felt very confident about his work.  Despite the language barrier, he was able to obtain our first custom knife from Michal called the Thuban.  Upon receiving the knife from him, we were not disappointed. Excellent flow from the tip of the blade to the end of the handle.  The Thuban is very quick for such a large knife.  This due in large part to its balance and great handle ergonomics.

The Thuban sold very quickly; however, more knives will be forth coming from Michal in the near future. Let us know if you’re interested.

Join us in welcoming these two talented custom knife makers to Robertson’s Custom Cutlery!

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Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

Blade Magazine Oct. 2019 Hunters Knives Custom user driven design
01
SEP
2019

USER DRIVEN DESIGN – Custom Hunters

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My article, User Driven Design on hunting knives is in the October 2019 issue of Blade Magazine pages 50-53.

There is an overview of different types of knives used by hunters. Specifically, the designs and how they are used. I even discuss the dimensions, steels, guard, and handle material of the styles and  purpose of these blades. Basic maintenance for these knives is also addressed.

Incorporating this knowledge, will allow you to select the right tool for the job. Remember, it isn’t the firearm that creates the trophy, it is the knife.,

Blade Magazine Oct. 2019 Hunters Knives Custom user driven designBlade Magazine Article User Driven Design Oct. 2019

The following knives are featured in the User Driven Design article and are currently available with Robertson’s Custom Cutlery.

Click on the linked photos below for more detailed info:

Gordon Graham Damascus Hunter Forged Custom Knife

Graham Damascus BW Forged Hunter

Milan Mozolic Hunter Custom Knife

Mozolic Custom Forged Stag Hunter

Wess Barnhill Forged DI Hunter Custom Knife

Barnhill Forged Custom DI Hunter

Want to know more about these and other custom knives?

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Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

18
AUG
2019

David Broadwell

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David Broadwell has been a full time custom knife maker since 1989 and I have worked with him for those 29 years. His knives are more than knives; they are elegance amplified.  They flow from the tip to the pommel exhibiting crisp clean grind lines.  David’s creativity and attention to detail is what puts him in the category of the very best. He executes all categories; tactical, presentation, damascus, folding knives and fixed blades beautifully…especially sub-hilt fighters as shown below:

Broadwell MLR custom Sub-hilt Fighter

I have owned over 100 MLR Fighters and Sub-Hilt Fighters in several different variations. I thought I had seen the very best from David. I was wrong! This knife is breathtaking! Photo: Coop

The perennial award-winning knives by David continue to impress not just the judges at major knife shows, but his collectors around the world are always eager to see what David is making next. Most knife makers are skilled craftsmen.  When it comes to custom knife maker, David Broadwell, his knives make him a true artist.

Broadwell Damascus SubHilt Bowie Knife Custom handmade Ivory

Broadwell Damascus Sub-Hilt Bowie Fossil Mammoth Ivory. This knife has strong curves and flowing lines. The curved and tapered fuller was freehand ground into the blade.
Photo: Chuck Ward

Carved Damascus and Fossil Walrus Ivory Handle by David Broadwell

Detail of Carved Damascus and Fossil Walrus Ivory Handle by David Broadwell

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

04
JUL
2019

WE SALUTE AMERICA!

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HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

05
JUN
2019

Blade Show Opportunities

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BLADE SHOW INCOMING KNIVES
If you are looking for something specific and can’t make it to the show, let us know. Maybe we can help.
These are just a couple of examples of knives we are planning to pick up at the Blade Show in Atlanta.  Place your order now and we’ll ship it after the show!

Greg Keith Forged Custom Damascus Bowie

GREG KEITH FORGED DAMASCUS BOWIE WITH DESERT IRONWOOD
Blade Length: 9″ OL: 14″
Blade Steel: Ladder Pattern Forged Damascus with fuller
Blade Finish: Acid Etched
Guard: Stainless Steel
Handle: Presentation Desert Ironwood
Sheath: Custom made leather sheath by maker
Comments:  Great balance!  The fuller really adds to the overall look of the knife design.  Excellent handle ergonomics.  Greg is an ABS Journeyman Smith$1,100.00

Oostendorp Orbis 5

TONI OOSTENDORP ORBIS 5 TACTICAL FIXED BLADE
Blade Length: 5″
Overall Length: 9.5″
Blade Steel: O-1
Blade Finish: Black Cera Kote
Guard Material: Stainless Steel
Handle Material: Contoured and grooved black Micarta
Sheath: Kydex with Maxpedition knife pouch.
Comments: All Orbis knives are integral. The blade, guard and tang are all forged from one piece of O-1 steel. The pommel is glued and penned into position giving you the utmost confidence in the performance of this knife.
Toni is an ABS Journeyman Smith.  Click here to learn more about custom knife maker, Toni Oostendorp$800.00

Josh Fisher San Main Damascus Stag Custom Fixed Blade

JOSH FISHER CUSTOM FORGED DAMASCUS SAN MAI FIGHTING KNIFE
Blade Length: 9″ OL: 14″
Blade Steel: Forged San Mai, 416 stainless, Damascus core
Guard, ferrule, pommel material: Hot blued carbon steel guard, ferrule and pommel with stainless steel spacers.
Handle Material: Beautiful Stag
Comments: This knife is very similar to the one featured on the cover of Knives 2019.  It is also in the article Les wrote for Knives 2019. This fixed blade knife is the same knife design as the one which won the “Best Fighter Award” at the 2018 Blade Show. Josh is an ABS Journeyman Smith!  Click here to learn more about the custom knife maker, Josh Fisher.  $1,250.00

If you are attending the show, check out Les’ BLADE UNIVERSITY class. Click for details.

29
MAY
2019

“Collecting the Art of Steel” Blade Magazine

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Blade Magazine Collecting Art of Steel

Don’t miss Les’ latest article, “Collecting: The Art of the Steel,” published on pages 82-87 in the current June issue of Blade Magazine.

Today’s hottest forged knives are boasting flashy San-Mai and Damascus blades. More so than any time over the last 30 years, Damascus and San Mai blades are no longer the purview of just Master Smiths.  Due to improved equipment and the availability of information, Les finds several Apprentice Smiths and Journeyman Smiths creating some exceptional blades.

Some have the skills required to make the blades, but still need improvement on the overall knife.  Other makers, such as the ones featured in the article, have abilities that belie their status in the American Bladesmith Society.  They are few and far between; none the less, they do exist.  The problem is and has been, the price of their knives is not commensurate with their status in the market. That said, each collector will make up their mind with regards to the pricing.

His recommendation to collectors is to do your homework to understand the details of the knife you are looking at and judge them on their own merit.  This is important as there has been a growing trend, particularly among Journeyman Smiths, of pricing their knives more than they are worth in the marketplace.

This publication will be free with your admission into the Blade Show.  See ya in Atlanta at the show!!

 

22
MAY
2019

FEATURING JIM SISKA… 10% Off + Free USPS Shipping*

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Siska M16 Subhilt Custom Knife 

M-16 Cocobolo SOLD

FEATURING KNIFEMAKER, JIM SISKA…

As a custom knife purveyor, I am always looking for custom knives which feature value for the money. This was the reason I bought my first knife from Jim Siska 32 years ago in 1987… and this holds true today.  Jim’s knives are the epitome of the four F’s: Fit, Finish, Function and Flow.  Those of you who already own one of his masterpieces know what I am talking about.  For those of you considering your first or next knife purchase, I cannot recommend a knife from Jim Siska highly enough.

Jim has made many custom knives for Robertson’s Custom Cutlery over the years; hunters, damascus hunters, presentation fixed blades, bowies, and tactical fixed blades. Here are four examples of his work we currently have available for you in stock. Click on the photos for details.

These are all top quality custom knives from our featured maker, Jim Siska, at a great value. 
*For a limited time, use promo code: SISKA10 for 10% Off the retail price and Free USPS Priority Shipping within the continental USA. Expires: 5/27/2019

Siska Utility Hunter Stag Custom 

 

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

24
APR
2019

BLADE UNIVERSITY 2019

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Blade Show Blade University Atlanta 2019

BLADE UNIVERSITY

Saturday, June 8th, Les will be teaching a class as part of Blade University at the Blade Show in Atlanta, GA.  This will be conducted in room 109, starting at 9:45 am – 10:45 am.  The subject, “Is a Custom Knife Dealer/Purveyor For You? ” will benefit both knife makers and collectors.

For the purposes of this class, Les (whose focus has been only custom knives for 32 years) will be discussing specifically those dealers/purveyors who buy and sell ONLY custom knives.  Unlike some dealers who sell both factory and custom knives, those with instiutional or specific knowledge of custom knives will benefit both the knife maker or custom knife collector much more.

The following will be discussed in the seminar:
*Maker benefits for working with a custom knife dealer/purveyor
*Collector benefits for working with a custom knife dealer/purveyor
*Potential problems for makers working with custom dealers/purveyors
*Potential problems for collectors working with custom knife dealers/purveyors
This link https://bladeshow.com/education/blade-u/ will take you directly to the Blade University portion of the Blade Show website where you may purchase tickets ahead of time.  Last year both of the classes he taught sold out.  Hope to see you there…

Is a Custom Knife Dealer/Purveyor for You?

Saturday, June 8th 9:45 am – 10:45 am  Room 109

BLADE SHOW 2019   ATLANTA, GA
June 7 – 9
Fri. 2 pm – 7 pm    Cobb Galleria Centre
Sat. 9 am – 6 pm   2450 Galleria Parkway

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

13
MAR
2019

KNIVES 2019 ANNUAL BOOK IS AVAILABLE!

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Blade presents “Knives 2019” Annual Book of Custom Knives and Knifemaker Edition

Knives 2019 Custom Knife Catalog

Be sure to pick up a copy of Knives 2019. In addition to all the incredible photos, check out my article, “The Cyclical Nature of Custom Knives.”

Starting on page 8, I discuss my take on the custom knife market from 1984 to present. Oh, the photo in the article is ABS Master Smith, Steve Randall’s First Sub-Hilt Fighter.

 

18
FEB
2019

ARKANSAS KNIFE SHOW REVIEW

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The Arkansas Knife Show

Saturday, February 16
Little Rock, AR

Congratulations to Logan Pearce for once again putting on a excellent custom knife show.

The custom knife makers ranged from newer ABS Apprentice Smith makers to World Class ABS Master Smiths.

Master Smith makers attending were Harvey Dean, Jerry Fisk, Jim Crowell, Steve Culver, Kyle Royer, John Horrigan, J.R. Cook, Lin Rhea, Bill Buxton and others.

Journeymen Smiths were well represented with Josh Fisher showing off his first Sub-Hilt Fighter.  Shawn Ellis won the Best Hunter Award and  Scott Gallagher won the Best Folder Award.  Other talented JS makers in attendance were Allen Newberry, Karl Andersen and Larry Cox.

Allen Newberry brought some nice silver wire inlay handled knives. Karl Andersen offered a good selection of take down knives. Larry Cox had some very nice Damascus and Ivory fixed blades.

I had very informative conversations with Apprentice Smiths, Mitch Cargile and Mark Fleming.  Both are doing clean work and attaining their JS Stamps will happen in the very near future.

The Arkansas show is second only to the Blade Show in both variety and quality of forged blades.  This show not only offers knives from a wide variety of makers, it does so in a relaxed environment.

The show will be moving from February to March for 2020.  I highly recommend fitting this into your knife show plans.  You will not be disappointed.

15
FEB
2019

See You @ The Arkansas Show

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The Arkansas Knife Show

Saturday, February 16
Little Rock, AR
Statehouse Convention Center
101 E. Markham St.
Little Rock, Arkansas
Sat. 9am-6pm

03
FEB
2019

Handmade Knives’ Cyclical Nature

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KNIVES 2019

Be sure to pick up a copy of Knives 2019. In addition to all the incredible photos, you can read my article, “The Cyclical Nature of Handmade Knives.”

Starting on page 8, I discuss my take on the custom knife market from 1984 to now. Oh, the photo is ABS Master Smith Steve Randall’s First Sub-Hilt Fighter!

05
JAN
2019

4 Paths to Collector Glory Blade Mag. 1/2019

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Please check out Les’ article on “4 Paths to the Collector Glory” in the Jan. issue of Blade Magazine pages 22-25.

15
OCT
2018

Custom Knives; Is Your Education Lacking? Part 3

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PERIOD OF ENLIGHTENMENT

When I conduct seminars at knife shows I always welcome those in attendance to the period of enlightenment.  What makes a knife show a period of enlightenment?  Let’s face it most of your friends and relatives to understand your fascination with these edged pieces of art.  Explaining it can be difficult, justifying some of the prices more so.  Often you will hear from your friends you could have bought a firearm or something else for that kind of money.  They generally want to refer you to the local store to peruse their $30 – $40 knives; they are not enlightened.

THE ULTIMATE COMBINATION OF RESOURCES

If being able to handle thousands of custom knives isn’t enough.  You can talk with the maker or a dealer and get instant knowledgeable feed back to your questions.  Many of those internet experts may be in attendance and be further utilized as a real-time resource.  Often these shows feature seminars from those who are recognized as experts in their specialty.  Now include the latest in knife magazines and an incredible resource that is the Knife Annual.  Lastly, you can utilize your Google-Fu to check after market prices and other factors that may influence your decision.

KNIFE SHOWS ALL AROUND THE WORLD

Knife shows can be found in Africa, China, Europe, South America and North America. Yes, you may have to do some planning and there will be some monetary outlay for attendance.  The question then becomes what is your education worth?   The reality is that most of us who have bought custom knives have overpaid or didn’t get exactly what you thought you were utilizing the internet only approach.

Knife shows allow you the opportunity to expand your knife education level that will pay benefits moving forward.   Usually these shows feature the work of makers from outside the United States.  South African Andre Thorburn travels outside his South African home to shows in both the US and Europe allowing you to experience his tactical artistry.  Having had the chance to handle and inspect different knives and another makers work.  This will allow you to confirm your desire for a particular knife, perhaps change your mind or even send you in a different direction of a makers work you were unfamiliar with.   This information could save you thousands of dollars moving forward with your collecting or even those who purchase primarily for use.

Part 1

Part 2

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

08
OCT
2018

Custom Knives; Is Your Education Lacking? Part 2

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PIQUED CURIOSITY AND THE FIRST ‘V’

Hearing or reading about the latest and greatest begs a couple of questions.

First, who are the collectors who are touting the work of these makers?

A foray onto the knife forums will introduce you to hundreds of experts.  Spending time reading some of the posts can clarify for you that this member actually has extensive experience and speaks with authority on a wide range of subjects.  Then there are experts who have compartmental expertise, such as slip joint and multi-blade folders.   They can answer questions and usually point you in the right direction.  Then, there are the other experts; more commonly referred to as “fan boys.”  While in some circles, this is a derogatory term.  In fact, they can have their own expertise.  However, this is generally limited to only a few makers who in their minds feel that the makers they collect are the best.  Often basing this on their personal relationship with the maker and the amount of said makers’ knives in their collection. To quote Abraham Lincoln, “If it is on the internet it must be true.”

Second, what is it about the maker that has gotten the attention of collectors. The first “V” stands for visual, in the form of photos or in some cases videos. If done well, these can give you a good idea if the knife will appeal to you or not.   The 2-dimensional format of this media limit your ability to truly judge the knife.  Depending on the quality of the photography or video, they may hide essential items when looking at knives.   Example, is the maker left handed or right handed?   Close ups of the choil area and plunge cuts if not clear can obfuscate the collector’s ability to determine with clarity the quality of the maker’s work.  Case in point, while attending a show in Las Vegas in 2014 I was asked by a client to evaluate a new makers work.   The knife featured a blade, with two pieces of Titanium for the handle.  The entire knife had an acid wash finish.  I pointed out an area on the blade, the plunge cut.  This is the area in front of the ricasso where the edge starts.  Often, acid wash is used to disguise the scratches on the blade where the plunge starts and moves towards the start of the edge.  I pointed this area and the scratches that were visible under closer scrutiny.

Part 1

Part 3

 

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

01
OCT
2018

Custom Knives; Is Your Education Lacking? Part 1

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Information on knife makers, styles, materials, and all things custom knives can be found in publications that are primarily knife related and those that have articles or include them in their stories.  Combine that with the amount of information on the internet and the membership levels of internet forums, one can argue you never have to leave your house to find out all you need to know about a custom knife. You could argue that, but I would submit to you that you are wrong.

BUGGY WHIPS AND BICYCLES

For centuries, buggy whips saw steady sales.  Businesses were built and careers were made crafting this necessary piece of equipment for everyone from the average person to the gentry. Then at the turn of the 20th century many of these stores closed up shop.  Why?   The introduction of the automobile changed the focus of what consumers wanted.   Many gave the public what they wanted and adapted with the times.  Some went into the bicycle business and even that morphed into something else.  A couple of friends changed the idea of the bicycle and their newest ideas can be seen today all over the roads and in their Headquarters in Milwaukee, WI.   A couple of brothers moved from Ohio to North Carolina and today you see their ideas; but you have to look up.

Today, custom knife making and collecting move at a rapid pace.  Techniques, materials, openers, locks from the past are morphed into updated versions of your Grandfather’s, maybe even your Father’s pocket knife. New makers seem to show up weekly if not daily. I routinely receive emails and phone calls inquiring about a new maker.  When I reply that I have not heard of them, I am often met with, “They have been making knives for 3 months and they are awesome.”  No doubt there are some knife makers that show great potential almost immediately with varied backgrounds, many with newly acquired machining skills from their job or a technical school.  While for most the learning curve is a little longer than 3-6 months.  In particular, for tactical folders, with the right machines and the training that curve can be cut in half.  That said, my curiosity is always piqued by the latest knife making savant.

Parts 2 

Part 3

 

 

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

30
SEP
2018

Custom Knife Deposits Part 4

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Deposits for Custom Knives: Yes, No, Maybe?

Possible Help

Because issues can arise it is imperative for both maker and collector to keep their communications (particularly emails).   Should something go wrong, if the maker belongs to a professional organization such as the US Knifemakers Guild or the American Bladesmith Society (as examples) and file a complaint against a member in good standing.  You will need communication records lest it turn into a he said/she said situation.

Ordering a custom knife should be a pleasurable experience! Open and direct communication between the maker and collector will insure the makers builds the knife you order.  I don’t know a knife maker who does not want to do their best to get you the knife you want. Remember, it is best not to pay for the knife upon ordering it. Many knife makers have told me, “The hardest knife to build is the one that has been paid for.”

Read

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

13
SEP
2018

Congrats Deibert Forged In Fire Champion

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Congratulations to Mike Deibert, the newest FORGED IN FIRE Champion!
forged in fire tv champion
Mike Deibert, best known for his designs and execution. These designs feature that rare combination of functionality and aesthetics. Mike utilizes a wide variety of carbon steels and presentation grade handle materials in the construction of his knives. This lead to Mike winning the prestigious George Peck Award in 2012 while earning his Journeyman Smith stamp. Since then he has incorporated Damascus steel and recently blued fittings into his repertoire.
Case in point, his Feather pattern Damascus has caught the eye of custom knife collectors around the world. Mike continues to impress me with his continual improvement as a knife maker. Balance, handle ergonomics and crisp clean lines have become hallmarks of his knives. He is one of those makers you always look forward to see what he is doing next.
Be sure to check out the knives from Mike Deibert, this ABS Journeyman Smith.

Mike Deibert Forged Feather Pattern Damascus Bowie with Stag

Mike Deibert Forged Feather Pattern Damascus Bowie with Stag

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

08
SEP
2018

Custom Knife Deposits Part 3

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Deposits for Custom Knives: Yes, No, Maybe?

I have witnessed a change over the last 30 years with makers attitude towards deposits.   This change seemed to coincide with the advent of the Internet.   Prior to that long distance phone calls were expensive and generally not made to check up on makers.   Today, those makers who take deposits have given (whether they realize it or not) permission to their client to check with them on the progress of their knife.   Sometimes this comes in the form of daily emails.  Often starting within a week of the order, even though the knife will not be ready for 6 months.  Unfortunately, many collectors become a nuisance wanting to know about every step of their knife build along the way.  Collectors, remember the more time the maker takes to answer phone calls and emails, the less time they are in the shop working on your knife.

Dude, where is my knife?

I just want to touch briefly on the shipping and paying for your knife.   You should ALWAYS pay for insurance.  The only thing worse than your shipping service of choice losing your knife, is losing the knife and not getting reimbursed for it.  Check with those who have been collecting for a while, no matter the service people have horror stories.   When paying for your knife, especially with a money order send the envelope signature required.  Should payment go “missing” you will have a date and name to start the investigation with.   Should you pay with a credit card you can file a charge back with merchant bank.  Time frames will differ with the bank the merchant uses.

Read

Part 1

Part 2

Part 4

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

01
SEP
2018

Custom Knife Deposits Part 2

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Deposits for Custom Knives: Yes, No, Maybe?

Deposits, why?

What about makers who ask for a deposit?  Generally, there is no reason for a deposit; however, there are exceptions. Look at the 3 guidelines listed below to help you determine if the deposit is necessary.  These are my 3 guidelines for knife maker deposits:

1) No Deposit: More times than not you will be ordering a knife that is a standard model; often with your particular material(s) requested.  This knife should never require any kind of deposit.  There is one exception, see number 2.

2) Partial Deposit: May be required if you are requesting material upgrades to a standard model.  These can come in the form of blade steel such as Damascus or San Mai.  Bolster materials such as Damascus or Ti-mascus and frame materials such as Moku-Ti, Zirconium or Damascus are examples. You can expect to pay a deposit for additional materials such as precious gem stones or metals. be given if you are requesting things such as semi-precious gem stones, precious gem stones or precious metals. Given the prices of fossil Ivory today, don’t be surprised if you are asked for a deposit to cover the cost of this.

3) Full Payment:  This is something that should never be done with one exception. You order a knife that is so hideous or has such a horrible design that should you decide to back out the maker would not be able to sell this knife.  If it hasn’t happened to you already it is only a matter of time before you find yourself looking at a knife and thinking or even saying out loud “What the heck was the maker thinking.”  Occasionally a maker will push the design/material envelope on their own.  More often not though there is a collector behind this creation.

Read

Part 1

Part 3

Part 4

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

26
AUG
2018

Schuyler Lovestrand

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With most endeavors in life there are always those whose abilities and skills move them into what we consider to be the elite category.  Such is the case with Schuyler Lovestrand’s knives.  He is best known for his stock removal method fixed blades which in my opinion are among the best in the world.  Upon seeing his work the two words that come to mind are clean and flawless.

This fixed blade master builds everything from hunters to stylized Bowies.  His favorite hunter style is the Loveless drop point hunter.  The main difference is that on his best day, Bob Loveless never made a drop point hunter as well as Schuyler Lovestrand.   Two other Loveless patterns that Schuyler makes on a regular basis are the Chute Knife and the Wilderness Fighters.

Lovestrand Handmade Chute Custom Knife

Schuyler Lovestrand Custom Stag Chute Knife

What he is best known is knives of his own design that accentuate his considerable skills.  His fighters are exactly what they should be; well balanced, quick and light in the hand.  His F-2 Sub-Hilt Fighter with its Persian style up-swept blade with regards to custom knives is the epitome of the term “flow.”

Lovestrand F-2 SubHilt Fighter Custom Made with Mastodon Ivory

Lovestrand F-2 SubHilt Fighter Custom Made with Mastodon Ivory

Currently his steel of choice is CPM 154CM.  This is the powered steel version of 154CM.  He enjoys the characteristics of the powered steels including the fine grain structure and cleanliness which lends itself to a good mirror finish.  When he uses the word good, he is being unnecessarily modest.  He does not make a good mirror finish.  His blades featuring a mirror finish are literally just that, a mirror.  He also does a hand rubbed satin finish and perhaps my favorite finish is his two-tone finish.  A satin finish is done on the flats and a mirror finish on the hollow grinds.  All of the guards and butt caps are made from stainless steel.

Like most professional knife makers he will work the gamut of handle materials.  For his utility and tactical knives he prefers linen or canvas Micarta, G-10 or stag.  Presentation grade knives will feature quality stag, Elephant Ivory, Fossil Ivories (both Mammoth and Walrus) this will include Wolly Mammoth tooth in narrow tang applications.  Premium stabilized wood burls such as Desert Ironwood have found favored status with his collectors. The quality and uniqueness of some of these handle materials; regardless of the cost always compliment this maker’s skill.

Lovestrand H2 DI Drop Point Hunting Knife

Lovestrand H2 Drop Point Hunter with Desert Ironwood

 

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

26
AUG
2018

Custom Knife Deposits Part 1

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Deposits for Custom Knives: Yes, No, Maybe?

The subject of whether to pay a custom knife maker or a custom knife dealer a deposit or not, comes up on a regular basis.  What I have learned (sometimes the hard way) over the last 34 years comes down to these categories.

COMMUNICATION

I cannot over emphasize that when ordering a custom knife, communication is key.  It is imperative that both the maker and the collector are on the same page as to the knife, the materials, estimated (note I wrote estimated) delivery time, price and when payment will be required.  There needs to be clear communication when it comes to a deposit.  Some makers will require one and some won’t.  Often those who require one do so because they have been burned by a client in the past. The main reason for this is poor or no communication.  My recommendation to both makers and collectors with regards to orders are pretty straight forward.   The maker should contact the collector PRIOR TO STARTING the knife (not after it is built.)  This allows both the maker and collector to discuss the knife one more time, especially if several months or years have passed.   This lets the collector know the knife will be ready in a few weeks and payment will be do upon completion.   This allows the maker to insure the email or phone number is still working and the shipping address is still accurate.  This communication allows both parties to know exactly which knife is being built, when it will be completed and when payment will be due.  While this sounds simple enough, you would be amazed at how many knives are built not knowing if the client still wants the knife, the email still works, etc.

Read

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

25
AUG
2018

Damascus Bowie Knife Defined

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(cont. from Damascus Bowies category page)

The Bowie knife is named after its owner who made the Bowie knife famous: Jim Bowie. Most think of a Bowie as a knife with a long blade. Variations of Bowies exist with a 4″ blade. These were a favorite knife of the river boat gambler. This knife was often referred to as a “Vest Pocket” Bowie. Bowie blades can reach up to 14″; however, the sweet spot for Bowie blade length is 9″ – 11″. Jim Bowie’s knife had a 9.25″ blade.

The Damascus Bowie is reintroduced.
Many objects of legend and lore will fade after 189 years, but not the Bowie knife. Thanks in no small part to the American Bladesmith Society (ABS) and the men and women who form this organization. The forged knife has been kept alive around the world. Bill Moran, the patriarch of the ABS, is credited with the rediscovery of creating Damascus.

Damascus is basically the combining of two or more steels. In the case of most forged Damascus blades today, those steels are a basic carbon steel such as 1084 that is combined with 15N20. The nickel in 15N20 steel resists the acid etch and stays shiny. It is the combination of the etched and shiny that give Damascus its distinctive look.

The majority of forged blades are flat ground. Simply put, this means the blade tapers all the way from the spine to the edge from both sides. Doing so makes this a more difficult grind as the maker has to remove a lot of metal. The advantage gained is a lighter blade that maintains its integrity.

Another technique utilized with forged blades is differential heat treatment. Basically, this creates a harder edge and a softer spine. The blade will generally have a temper line showing the difference between the harder and softer parts of the blade.

The carbon steels that are used are too numerous to mention them all here. The primary ones used with forged Bowie blades are; 0-1, W-2, 1075, 1084, 1095, 5160 and 52100.

There are three basic types of handles. First, the hidden tang; which is exactly what it sounds like. A hole is drilled and shaped through the center of the handle material to make room for the tang. Epoxy is often used as the adhesive to keep the tang and handle material together.

Depending on the material and maker, the handle may or may not have a pin through the handle. This type of knife handle will also lend itself to the take down handle. The handle is built in a similar fashion, but to a higher degree of fit as no glue is used to secure the tang and handle material. The handle is held together with a type of nut or finial that screws onto the tang providing the necessary pressure to keep the handle secured. Generally, a tool is provided to remove the device that is holding the knife together.

Second is the mortise tang. The tang will be shorter and the handle material will be spit. The inside of the handle material will have a slot cut evenly on both sides. This will allow the tang to be sandwiched in between both pieces of handle material. This technique will almost always have a combination of epoxy and some type of pin through the handle. An advantage of this type of handle is the reduction of weight. This can really help with a hunter/skinner, as well as, aid in the balance of the knife.

Third is the frame handle. Basically, the tang is slotted into a frame and handle material is added to each side. When completed it gives the illusion that the knife has a full tang. Generally, constructed with both hidden and pins that show. This is the most complex method of the three. Expect to pay more for this type of handle.

While all Damascus is forged, how it comes to be on a knife can differ. Makers who forge their knives generally will make their own Damascus. While many makers who utilize the stock removal method, will purchase their Damascus from a third party who specialize in making Damascus.

Bowies created by the stock removal method primarily differ from forged Bowies in two main ways:

1) Steel: Basically, stainless steel is used as opposed to carbon steel.

2) Handle: Generally, either a full tang or hidden tang construction.

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

25
AUG
2018

Jason Clark

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Jason Clark’s knives are the epitome of the 4F’s; Fit, Finish, Flow and Function.  His custom knives while primarily tactical often have a look of understated elegance. As these photos below show, his knives can easily transition between several categories simply by changing the materials.  Jason’s favorite steels are S35VN, B75P, N690 and 19C 22 and even San Mai.  He professes no favorite Damascus insisting he enjoys trying new steels as client requests them. They open smooth and lock up tight.  Their slim design and lightweight materials create an extremely comfortable to carry all day.  Jason’s knives are among the best for the money in the tactical folder or damascus folder category.   He has a variety of other styles to include a dagger so check out this custom knife maker’s work.

Jason Clark Custom handmade folding knife tactical NN1

Jason Clark Custom Tactical NN1 folding knife

Clark Damascus Handmade Folder

Jason Clark Damascus NN1 Custom Folding Knife

Jason Clark Custom NN1 Titanium folding Knife

Jason Clark NN1 Timascus Bolster,
Anodized Bronze Titanium Frame
Lightning Strike Carbon Fiber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

25
AUG
2018

Terry Vandeventer

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Terry Vandeventer earned his Master Smith stamp from the American Bladesmith Society in 2006.  Since then, Mississippi’s only Master Smith offers some of the most exceptional handmade Damascus knives you will come across.   His Damascus is primarily 1084 and 15n20, sometimes with a little 2095 added to provide a third color.  He feels all three are excellent steels and when welded together correctly never produce a weak-link in his Damascus.  For his handle materials Terry prefers natural materials.  Woolly Mammoth, ancient Walrus Ivory, and Sambar Stag are used almost exclusively.

Terry Vandeventer Custom Forged Damascus Bowie w/ Seashell Guard and Stag   Photo by Chuck Ward

Intricate file work can be found on the liners and spacers of virtually every knife he makes.  The combination of the materials and craftsmanship found in each knife creates a edged work of art that would make any collector proud to own.

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

25
AUG
2018

Bowie Knife Defined

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(cont. from Bowies category page)

The Bowie knife blades can reach up to 14″ in over all length; however, the sweet spot for a Bowie blade length is 9 – 11.”  Jim Bowie’s knife had a 9.25″ blade.

The majority of custom forged blades are flat ground. Simply put, this means the blade tapers all the way from the spine to the edge from both sides. Doing so makes this a more difficult grind as the maker has to remove a lot of metal. The advantage gained is a lighter blade that maintains its integrity.

Another technique utilized with forged blades is differential heat treatment. Basically, this creates a harder edge and a softer spine. The forged blade will generally have a temper line showing the difference between the harder and softer parts of the blade.

The carbon steels that are used are too numerous to mention them all here. The primary ones used with forged Bowie blades are; 0-1, W-2, 1075, 1084, 1095, 5160 and 52100.

There are three basic types of handles. First, the hidden tang; which is exactly what it sounds like. A hole is drilled and shaped through the center of the handle material to make room for the tang. Epoxy is often used as the adhesive to keep the tang and handle material together.

Depending on the material and maker, the handle may or may not have a pin through the handle. This type of knife handle will also lend itself to the take down handle. The handle is built in a similar fashion, but to a higher degree of fit as no glue is used to secure the tang and handle material. The handle is held together with a type of nut or finial that screws onto the tang providing the necessary pressure to keep the handle secured. Generally, a tool is provided to remove the device that is holding the knife together.

Second is the mortise tang. The tang will be shorter and the handle material will be spit. The inside of the handle material will have a slot cut evenly on both sides. This will allow the tang to be sandwiched in between both pieces of handle material. This technique will almost always have a combination of epoxy and some type of pin through the handle. An advantage of this type of handle is the reduction of weight. This can really help with a hunter/skinner, as well as, aid in the balance of the knife.

Third is the frame handle. Basically, the tang is slotted into a frame and handle material is added to each side. When completed it gives the illusion that the knife has a full tang. Generally, constructed with both hidden and pins that show. This is the most complex method of the three. Expect to pay more for this type of handle.

Bowies created by the stock removal method primarily differ from forged bowies in two main ways:

1) Steel: Basically, stainless steel is used as opposed to carbon steel.

2) Handle: Generally, either a full tang or hidden tang construction.

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

25
AUG
2018

Damascus Fixed Blades Defined

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(cont. from Damascus Fixed Blades category page)

The majority of forged blades are flat ground. Simply put, this means the blade tapers all the way from the spine to the edge from both sides. Doing so makes this a more difficult grind as the maker has to remove a lot of metal. The advantage gained is a lighter blade that maintains its integrity.

Another technique utilized with forged blades is differential heat treatment. Basically, this creates a harder edge and a softer spine. The blade will generally have a temper line showing the difference between the harder and softer parts of the blade.

Damascus fixed blades can come in all lengths and styles. (Click to see these examples)
Skinning Knives
Fighters
Damascus Bowies

While all Damascus is forged, how it comes to be on a knife can differ. Custom knife makers who forge their knives generally will make their own Damascus. While many makers who utilize the stock removal method, will purchase their Damascus from a third party who specialize in making Damascus.

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

25
AUG
2018

Craig Camerer

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When I first met custom knife maker, Craig Camerer, what struck me about his knives was they looked slightly different from the majority of the other forged blades at the show.  After studying his knives for a while I realized what it was.  Craig’s knives…even the big Bowies and camp knives have a subtly to them.   While on the one hand, Craig’s knives can be very large and meant for serious work.  At the same time, they feel light and balanced in the hand.  A big knife you could use all day without the fatigue that many knives can give you.

Craig makes a wide variety of knives and styles.  He has made folders on occasion but primarily builds knives with 7 -11″ blades.  His favorite steels are W-2 for its edge holding ability; and the temper line that W-2 shows,  as well as, 9260 carbon steel.  He explained to me that it was similar to 5160, but would hold an edge a little bit better.  For his Damascus, he prefers 1084/15n20 for the contrast in the steels and its edge holding capabilities.  From the tip of the blade to the end of the handle, Craig’s knives are clean and consistent.

Craig uses a variety of handle materials for his knives; depending on the intended use.  His work knives feature G-10 or Micarta.  Craig does an excellent job with the contouring of the handle giving the knife great ergonomics.  That being said, Craig’s favorite handle materials are Stag and the different Ivories.  He likes the warm feel of the materials and that they have a timeless quality to them.  Among my favorite knives of Craig’s is his Rock House Trail Bowie with Stag handle shown below.  His ability to incorporate several different design elements into each knife allow him to very unique work for his customers.  Each knife comes with a leather sheath that Craig makes.

Craig skills were put on display when he was the champion on the television show “Forged in Fire!”   Craig became a ABS Journeyman Smith in July 2018 when he passed his ABS Master Smith performance test.  He is now cleared to test for Master Smith.

Camerer ABS Journeyman Smith San Mai Forged Rock House Trail Bowie

Craig Camerer Forged Rock House Trail Bowie with Stag

 

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

25
AUG
2018

Slip Joint and Multi-Blade Folding Knife Defined

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(cont. from Slip Joint and Multi-Blade Folding Knives category page)

The majority of slip joint and multi-blade folders made today are based on designs from, in some cases, the 1880’s.  Handle materials such as, jigged bone, Stag, wood and even Ivory on slip joint folding knives is nothing new.  Steels and handle materials have been upgraded since then and today.

Two terms often associated with slip joint folding knives are “Walk and Talk.”

Walk

The polished part of the spring front where the tang end and torque point move when opening and closing the blade.

Talk

The sound a blade makes when it snaps open or shuts at the end of the walk, causing knife people to speak of the “walk and talk” of the pocket knife.

The custom versions of these knives started to gain in popularity in the 1990’s.  This was due in large part to the custom knife maker Tony Bose.   Tony is considered the premier slip joint folding knife maker in the world.

While slip joint folding knives may have been the preferred folder of your father or grandfather, these knives have nothing on the custom versions that are being produced today.   The quality, steel(s), tolerance’s, and material choices help to keep the knives from two centuries ago still relevant today.

 

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

25
AUG
2018

Bill Luckett

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Bill utilizes the stock removal method of making knives.  He grinds all of his blades “free hand.”  Doing so allows him to try new grinds on his blades.  Bill likes to say that he makes a true handmade knife.  So while Bill has standard models, no two are exactly the same.  Bill Luckett has achieved what most custom knife makers strive for; a distinct and recognizable style.  What drew me to his knives were the deep hollow grinds in the blade and his mirror finishes.  Over the last 40 years, Bill has tried a wide variety of steels.  Today he primarily uses CPM154, D-2 and CPMS30V.  These three steels would offer the end user an excellent choice no matter what tasks they had in mind for one of Bill‘s knives.  While these are Bill’s primary steels, he has incorporated Damascus into his steel repertoire.  The results of a deep hollow grind on a Damascus blade are stunning!

Perhaps the next most recognizable aspect of Bill’s knives are the lugged guards and pommels.  These guards and pommels show the influence of another maker who builds some of my favorite knives, Rod Chappel.  Bill primarily uses 304 stainless steel for his fittings.  He has also utilized Micarta for his fittings and on rare occasion, brass.  For me, it is those deep hollow ground blades, massive double lugged guards, and a big pommel that typify a Bill Luckett custom made knife.  One of my favorite models Bill makes is the Freedom Fighter shown here:

Bill Luckett Handmade Freedom Fighter

Bill Luckett Custom Presentation Freedom Fighter is his “signature knife.” Bill was a student of W.W. Cronk as this knife reflects his unique style.

Granted, the majority of these big knives are primarily for visual appeal, they can do the job they were intended for.  Bill also makes what most would consider a more usable knife.  These include hunters, a very cool integral dagger and fighters.  His favorite handle materials are stabilized burl woods, lined Micarta and Stag.  Bill’s Raptor custom presentation knife, Raptor, (featured below) is not only a great looking knife, its lethality is present for those who know what they are looking for. Like most professional knife makers he can use a wide variety of handle materials.  Bill uses a wide variety of spacer materials on his more complicated handles.  In addition to his exceptional knives Bill is a very talented sheath maker.  His knives come with a custom leather sheath that compliments the knife.

Bill Luckett is an elite craftsman and knife maker.  He has created that which all knife makers strive for a distinct and instantly recognizable style.  When you see a Bill Luckett knife, you have no doubt who made the knife.  Holding one in your hand firmly cements that which catches your eye. The handle ergonomics and the balance make the knife a joy to hold and use.

Bill Luckett Raptor Presentation Fighter Custom Handmade Knife

Bill Luckett Raptor Presentation Fighter

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

25
AUG
2018

Hunters and Skinners Defined

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(cont. from Hunter and Skinner category page)

The smallest of the hunter group is a bird and trout knife. This knife features a small thin blade that can be used to field dress game birds and filet fish.

Perhaps the most recognizable hunter is the Loveless designed drop point hunter. This knife generally features a 3.5″ to 4″ blade. Most feature a single guard and a wide variety of handle materials. Among the favorite handle materials is Stag. Not only does this make your knife look good, the lands and grooves of the Stag antler provide an excellent grip, especially if your hand is wet.

“Skinners” or skinning knives are aptly named. These knives feature an up-swept blade that is designed to remove the fur or pelt from the animal.

As the game becomes bigger such as Moose, Bear, etc., hunting knives tend to get a little longer. This allows the hunter to quarter the game and pack the desired meat of the animal back to camp for further processing. There, once again, the hunting knife will become the primary tool for the final processing of the meat.

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

25
AUG
2018

Presentation Fixed Blade Defined

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(cont. from Presentation Fixed Blade category page)

Another aspect of the presentation fixed blade may be additional embellishment.  This would include engraving, blued fittings often with Gold inlay.  If the knife has a handle made from Ivory you may see it scrimshawed.  On occasion you may see any or all aspects of the knife with some carving.

The word Presentation can be misleading as it gives you the idea this knife is merely something to be put under glass or hung on the wall.  Make no mistake, the knives are fully functioning.  If necessary they would do exactly what they were designed to do.

 

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

25
AUG
2018

How Custom Knives Appreciate In Value – Part 5

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As the custom knife world becomes “smaller,” this shrinkage brings with it additional global competition for the knife maker.  How can they help their custom knives to appreciate in value? The very technical advantages that the knife maker can use to their benefit can also be utilized by others to the detriment of that same knife maker.  Should a knife maker be able to respond to this opportunity they will have the access to a worldwide clientele.

As we move towards the end of the first decade in the 21st century there is the realization that simply making a knife and setting up at a knife show will do little or nothing to help a makers work appreciate in value.  Today’s savvy custom knife makers are incorporating all aspects of the custom knife market.  They do not merely limit themselves to making knives; they have initiated a team concept. Thereby increasing the demand for their knives and ultimately gaining an appreciation in their custom knives value.Steve Randall damascus bowie fixed custom knife

TEAM PLAYER
Most of us have been members of a team of some type.  However, the team I am speaking of is one that is more business in nature.  This team is selected to best utilize the methods and technologies available to help introduce the makers work to collectors worldwide.  Their team may include a working relationship with a knife magazine, a photographer, a web site, a dealer, a sheath maker, etc.

While many of today’s makers, while not active themselves on the Internet forums.  They have reaped the benefits of having satisfied collectors who are happy to share their latest acquisition with their fellow forumites, providing additional advertising.

PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS
The concept of the team is that each person does their part.  The maker’s talents lie in their ability to make the knives.  As such the makers need to maximize their time in the shop and utilize their “Teammates” skills to better advance their position in their market(s).  Too many makers feel they need to do it all, photography, sheaths, web site, etc.  By incorporating other artisans to collaborate on the makers work they will provide improved “packaging.”  Examples of this are utilizing a professional photographer such as Jim Cooper or Chuck Ward.  Both are respected photographers whose work has been featured in knife publications worldwide.  Many makers while building a great knife diminish the total package when it comes to their sheath work.  Once again, professional sheath makers such as Kenny Rowe, Larry Parsons and Paul Long can add their sheath making skills to your knife to improve the total package.

Without a doubt the best marketing tool a maker can use right now is their own web site.  However, to maximize this potential you need to advertise the web site exists.  The knife magazines are an excellent place for this…as not everyone is web friendly.  Additionally, your team member at the knife publication can provide you with additional opportunities for advertising in different formats, i.e. gun, hunting, fishing, etc. publications.  Obviously, when the knife maker puts their team together they will pick those team members that will best compliment their work.

While it looks as if I wrote this for the knife makers, in actuality I have written this as much for the collectors.  While most collectors will say that they buy what they like, the truth is… Wouldn’t it be great if your collection held its value…perhaps even went up a little?

MOST IMPROVED
The learning curve has shortened.  The information on how to make knives is found in publications, knife shows, schools, knife shows, hammer-in’s, and passed from maker to maker.  Consequently, makers are improving their work more rapidly than in any time in history.  Subsequently, as the skills “playing field” becomes more level what is it that will increase a custom knife’s worth?

MOST VALUABLE
As always innovation will lead the way.  However, the savvy collector will take note as to how the makers are presenting themselves and their knives.  As ultimately, it is the knife makers and their collectors who drive the pricing and therefore the custom knives appreciate in value.

Read

Part 1    Part 2   Part 3   Part 4

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

25
AUG
2018

Scott Gallagher

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I met custom knife maker, Scott Gallagher at the Art of Steel Show in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2016.  He was an Apprentice Smith at the time and I made a note to myself to check out his work closer 7 months later at the ICCE Show in Kansas City.  I was not disappointed, as Scott had received the inaugural Judge James Pilkinton Award.  It was easy to see why he won this award given his skill in so many different designs.  On his table he had hunters, fighters, boot knives and Bowies.  All were very well executed and his prices were more than fair for a newly promoted ABS Journeyman Smith.

Scott strives for meticulous work and constant improvement.  This was evident when comparing his work at the ICCE Show to the work he had on his table just 6 months earlier.  Handling his knives at the 2017 Blade show his work continued to get better with the word, “clean” coming to mind.  His fit and finish belied the price point and his new performance line of hunters is going to be a winner.

Scott Gallagher Custom Handmade Maple Burl Skinning Knife

Scott Gallagher Custom Maple Burl Skinner

 

 

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

24
AUG
2018

Damascus Hunter Defined

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(cont. from Damascus Hunters category page)

The size and type of the blade design will depend on the animal, bird or fish. The smallest of the hunter group is a bird and trout knife. This knife features a small thin blade that can be used to field dress game birds and filet fish.

Perhaps the most recognizable hunter is the Loveless designed drop point hunter. A damascus hunting knife generally features a 3.5″ to 5″ blade. Most feature a single guard and a wide variety of handle materials. Among the favorite handle materials is Stag. Not only does this make your knife look good, the lands and grooves of the Stag antler provide an excellent grip, especially if your hand is wet.

“Skinners” or skinning knives are aptly named. These knives feature an up-swept blade that is designed to remove the fur or pelt from the animal.

As the game becomes bigger such as Moose, Bear, etc., hunting knives tend to get a little longer. This allows the hunter to quarter the game and pack the desired meat of the animal back to camp for further processing. There, once again, the hunting knife will become the primary tool for the final processing of the meat.

While maintenance of your blade is always recommended. Damascus is more susceptible to rust than most blades. Once you are done using your knife. Wash it and wipe it off, then put a light coat of oil on it. After the trip, be sure to not store your custom made Damascus blade in the leather sheath. The tannic acid used to prepare the leather can lead to your blade rusting.

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

24
AUG
2018

Joel Chamblin

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Quality and precision are the hallmarks of a Joel Chamblin knife. This is why in 1998, Bob Neal and I chose Joel to make the very first folder for our exclusive LDC Series of custom folding knives.  Joel built the LDC-1 and LDC-101 .

Chamblin LDC-101 Prototype Exclusive Tactical Folding Knife

Joel Chamblin LDC-101 Prototype Tactical Folder

Known for a decade as one of the premier slip joint and multi-blade folding knife makers in the world, below is an example of the Remington 1123 Slip Joint Folder handmade by Joel.

Chamblin Remington 1123 Stag Folder Slip Joint

Joel Chamblin Remington 1123 Stag Slip Joint Folder

Moving seamlessly from one genre to another, Joel has once again focused his attention on the tactical folding knife market. He incorporates the most “in demand” materials expected in custom knives; S35VN blades, Titanium, Zirconium, Timascus and carbon fiber into his tactical folding knives.  He is producing some of the smoothest best built EDC folding knives available today.  Joel understands what “quality for the money” means and incorporates it into each knife he builds.

Custom knife maker Chamblin Joel PDK2 Tactical LSCF

Joel Chamblin PDK2 Tactical Folder w/ LSCF

 

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

24
AUG
2018

Josh Fisher

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I met Josh Fisher at the 2017 Arkansas Custom Knife Show. I was immediately struck by the variety, quality and the pricing of his knives. Josh builds a wide variety of handmade fixed blades, as well as, slip joint folding knives. His fixed blade styles include, hunters, Bowies, and a variety of Damascus knives. His custom San Mai blades will compete favorably with any knife maker in the world as the knife he entered in the judging at the 2018 Blade Show will attest to. This is a photo of the knife Josh won the very prestigious Best Fighter Award in Atlanta GA. He also won the Best Hunter Award at the 2016 Blade Show in Atlanta GA.

Josh Fisher utilizes carbon steel, forged Damascus steel and San Mai blades in conjunction with just about any handle material you would like. Premium woods, Stag and Mammoth/Mastodon Ivories, as well as bluing are all in his repertoire.

What I like best about Josh is that he does not shy away from a challenge. Both myself and my clients have taken him out of his comfort zone on several occasions. This skilled custom knife maker combines functionality and aesthetics and he never disappoints! He utilizes a combination of functionality and aesthetics. Josh Fisher always leaves you wanting to see what he will makes next!

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

23
AUG
2018

Damascus Folding Knife Defined

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(cont. from Damascus Folders category page)

Precious gem stones such as Jade or Lapis Lazuli can be used for custom knife scales. Another option is reconstituted stone, such as dyed coral. Other stones such as Tiger’s Eye, Malachite and even Agates have even been used for damascus folding knife scales.

There are many types of unique patterns created in forged damascus like twist, ladder, swirl, mosiac, star, etc.

Locks can range from, lock backs, liner lock, frame lock, push button locks.

Clips may or may not be used. The issue with using a clip with a folding knife using natural handle material will be the drilling of the holes for the screws. This hole may lead to an immediate crack or one that forms years later as the handle material contracts and expands.

While all Damascus is forged, how it comes to be on a knife can differ.   Makers who forge their knives generally will make their own Damascus.   While many makers who utilize the stock removal method, will purchase their Damascus from a third party who specialize in making Damascus.

 

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

20
AUG
2018

Tactical Folding Knife Defined

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(cont. from Tactical Folder category page)

The criteria I came up with for the tactical folder category of the custom knife judging for the Blade Show is as follows:

The blade should have a non-reflective finish that can be bead blasted, acid washed, some kind of coating. Even a machine satin finish so the blade will not reflect light.

Bolster (if used) could be stainless steel, Titanium, Aluminum (yes, that used to be used for bolsters on tactical folders) or Zirconium. Again, your choice, but, as with the blade it should have a finish that does not reflect light.

Handle material will be of a synthetic nature. These would include G-10, Micarta or Carbon fiber, as examples.

If stainless steel, Aluminum or titanium are used for the handle and frame, then as with the blade, it will have to have a non-reflective finish.

At the time, no mention was made of opener’s, clips or locks. In 2018, the majority of tactical folders had a flipper opener, a liner or frame lock. Most have a clip that are now predominately set to the blade and is carried tip up inside the frame.

Well-known tactical folder maker, Bob Terzuola, wrote what is considered by many to be the definitive work on the subject: The Tactical Folding Knife: A Study of the Anatomy and Construction of the liner Locked Folder

If you have a chance to look on page 4 of this book, Bob gives thanks to all those who helped him with this book. Quote: “I would like to thank Les Robertson and Bob Neal for helping me define what a tactical folder is.”

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

20
AUG
2018

Tactical Fixed Blade Defined

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(cont. from Tactical Fixed Blade category page)

Guard (if used) could be stainless steel, sometimes carbon steel will be used. Generally, if that is the case, the guard will be coated with something like cera-cote or blued. Again, your choice; but, as with the blade it should have a bead blast finish or one that does not reflect light.

Tactical fixed blades can also feature a metal feature at the end of the handle called the pommel, skull crusher, glass breaker, etc. This, too should feature a non-reflective finish.

Handle material will be of a synthetic nature. These would include G-10, Micarta or Carbon fiber.

Tactical fixed blades are credited with the introduction of Kydex and Kydex lined Cordura nylon sheaths. Even today these are mainstays for tactical fixed blades.

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

08
AUG
2018

Journeyman Smith – What You Should Know

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As you look at some of the custom knife makers’ work on our website you will notice that some have the designation “Journeyman Smith.”  I am often asked what this means so I thought I would write a brief synopsis.

I was introduced to forged blades in the late 1980’s. What drew my attention were the custom Damascus knives being made by some of the ABS Master Smiths.  The top makers were asking $100 an inch (this included paying for the tang) for their knives, plus handle material and a sheath.  A 10” Bowie with a 5” handle would routinely be priced at $1600 – $1800 (depending on handle material.) Remember this was the 1988 price!

This lead me to look for less expensive options, which at that time primarily meant carbon steel.  Not knowing what I was looking for, I became an ABS Associate Member in 1988.  It was then I started to be educated on what the Journeyman Smith designation meant and why it was important to me.

To become a Journeyman Smith (JS) some basic requirements have to be met:

  • Eligibility: The candidate for JS must be an Apprentice Smith member for at least two years. At this point, they can take their performance test with an ABS Master Smith.  However, they must have been an Apprentice Smith at least 3 years before they can test for JS.
  • Performance Test: JS candidate can only test with carbon steel blades. There are guidelines for the knife to be used. The test is a 4-part event. All 4 parts have to be passed in order for the JS candidate to become eligible to test for JS.
    • Rope Cutting: The purpose of this is to test the edge geometry and sharpness.
    • Wood Chopping: This is done to demonstrate the edges toughness. A construction grade 2X4 is used for this test.
    • Shaving Hair: The is to demonstrate the edge retention of the blade.
    • Bending: This test is done to show the applicant is able to heat treat a knife with a soft spine and hard edge. This is known as “differential heat treat.”  On a hard use knife, this type of heat treat could be an advantage.

Once the time requirement and performance test have been met.  The JS candidate may now test for their JS Stamp (that is the JS in script you will see on their blades.)

The candidate will submit five knives, all having carbon steel blades for judging.  This usually takes place at the Blade Show in Atlanta, GA, the first of June.  Recently the ICCE Show in Kansas City has been added as an additional testing venue.

Upon successful completion, the maker will be awarded the JS stamp and certificate.  For many, the next step is to become a Master Smith.

In addition to the performance test, most ABS makers will spend time with other JS or MS makers learning this craft.  Some will attend the Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing at the Texarkana College in Texarkana, Texas.   Additionally, there are hammer-ins set up across the country.  These are usually done over the weekend and will further enhance the attendee’s skills and abilities with regards to making forged blades.

As you can see, custom knife makers with the JS designation have put a lot of time and effort into becoming a Journeyman Smith.  The knowledge they have gained can be readily seen in the custom knives they produce. As with any endeavor some JS makers will be better than others.

Over the past 28 years, I have had the opportunity to visit several custom knife makers’ shops. It is always interesting to watch their “process.”  I have attended classes on making and judging forged blades, and I have had the opportunity to judge finished knives at several shows both in the US and Canada.

At this point I have developed a pretty good eye for quality work at all three levels: AS, JS and MS custom knives.  In addition to the current work and/or potential, the price the makers charge for their knives is also very important to me. Right now, too many JS makers are asking too much money for their work. Given what prices were being asked by some of the tactical folder makers, it should come as no surprise.

What I look for is:

  • Quality: Their fit, finish and flow commensurate with the rating in the ABS and their time making knives.  Example: There are several JS makers who are better knife makers than some of the MS makers.
  • Position in the market: Where is the maker compared to their competitors in the current market?
  • Price: This should be influenced by #2. Additionally, materials used, demand and how their retail prices hold up in the aftermarket.  Right now, too many makers prices are not commensurate with the position in the market.
  • Improving Skill Set: Are JS makers improving their fit, finish and flow? Are they moving towards making Damascus, San Mai, blades with Hamons, materials being used? Are they incorporating Stag, Premium woods and/or Ivories as part of their options for handle material?
  • Communication: Do they answer emails or return phone calls in a timely manner? Do they make sure (to the best of their abilities) you are receiving the knife you want?  Point: Communication is a two-way street.  It is essential that both the customer and maker communicate in a clear and concise manner.

When you see a knife maker with the JS designation on my website, you can be sure they have been vetted by me personally.  I spent a lot of time developing the skills on what to look for.  I feel I am working with some of the best Journeyman Smiths in the world. I would encourage you to spend time looking at their knives on my website and continually develop your own knowledge base when it comes to forged blades. For additional information on what it takes to become a Journeyman Smith, I would recommend you follow this link the ABS website: http://www.americanbladesmith.com/index.php?section=pages&id=172

 

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

 

07
AUG
2018

How and Why Custom Knives Appreciate In Value – Part 4

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Perhaps the one constant over the time for making a custom knife appreciate is what I call the “Super Collector.” However, the Internet posed a “double edged” quandary for many of the “Super Collectors.”  Simultaneously allowing them better access to the knives they collect and removing most, if not all, of their anonymity.  The “Super Collectors” are willing to pay (in some cases) a very hefty premium to get the latest knife from their favorite maker.  For those lucky enough to get one of the knives the “Super Collectors” want will have an opportunity to make a very tidy profit.

Appreciation in the value of a custom knife is the result of a symbiotic relationship between the custom knife maker and the custom knife collector.  Like every other economic endeavor, the law of supply and demand exists in the custom knife market.  The custom knife makers create the knives and the collectors reward the maker for their efforts by buying the knives.  As the maker’s reputation grows their position in their market(s) improves.  This results in an increase in the demand for their work.  This demand will create a price premium in the aftermarket.  As discussed previously this affect can create a slippery slope for the maker should they choose to use the aftermarket prices to set their prices.

For a very small percentage of makers and generally reserved for the very top in their particular style(s).  The aftermarket starts to disappear as current knives go to a very select group of collectors.  This is followed by the elimination of advertising (if there was any) and limited attendance at knife shows.  When this maker does attend a particular show, there is generally one piece on the table and it; of course, has been pre-sold.  To make matters worse, after the knife is delivered the maker is off to spend time with makers, collectors, friends, etc.  Consequently, for the majority of the show, the maker is absent except for perhaps a photo or two on the table.

The maker who takes this path is doing their collector base a disservice.  It is important for those makers with a great collector base, to continue introducing themselves to new collectors.   This allows those collectors who were there at the beginning to sell some earlier pieces to help fund their next purchase.  Allowing the makers work to continue to pass into more collectors’ hands; while at the same time continuing to show collectors that their work holds and/or actually increases in value.  Failure to do this will signal that the maker has hit a plateau.  Ultimately, signaling their collectors to sell; as their prices have peaked.  The maker will continue to sell their knives however; their position in the market(s) will start to erode.  This continued erosion will result in newer collectors who will have never heard of them.

The 5th and final part will discuss how both makers and collectors can help custom knives appreciate in the 21st Century.

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Part 1    Part 2   Part 3   Part 5

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

05
AUG
2018

How and Why Custom Knives Appreciate In Value – Part 3

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Today all the aforementioned outlets for custom knives still exist.  However, it is the Internet’s availability and ease of use that makes finding knives quicker by simply doing an Internet search.  Prior to the Internet there were collector to collector sales, but it was the Internet that transformed a process that previously could have taken weeks or months into a process that would take hours…maybe minutes.  The speed at which information could be obtained changed not only the way many custom knife buyers approached buying custom knives, but the speed at which the knives they were buying had the potential for appreciation.  Now many collectors include a maker’s potential or actual ROI (Return On Investment) in their buying decision.  Today, because of the speed at which some custom knives can appreciate in value; many collectors now range from those who at least consider makers knives performance in the aftermarket to borderline investors.

We all know that collectors of anything love to talk to other collectors of a like item.  This was not lost on some of the more tech savvy collectors.  Subsequently, Internet forums for knife collectors and their sub-set custom knife collectors were given a place to discuss knives.   It was on these forums that previously unknown or little-known makers rose to the level of “Most Wanted” in just a few short months.  Along with creating the newest “Hot” maker, the active hunt for ROI by collectors was born.

There are two scenarios with the “Hot” makers.  The first scenario has a custom knife maker creating a particular style of knife that the “forumites” love.  Usually the knife is offered at a price well below the market.  The maker in a very short period of time receives 50 plus orders for this knife.  The maker is on cloud nine as they have more orders than they have ever had before.  Generally, the maker is a part time maker and soon realizes that he has just received 1 – 2 years’ worth of orders.  The maker has fallen into the forumites trap without even realizing it.  The maker loves the buzz they are getting on the forum as those who are awaiting the knife love to talk about it.    Ultimately the knives arrive to the lucky first buyers.  The next group of knives are coming out as fast as the maker can produce them.  Somewhere during this second group is where the maker gets their first surprise.  Those who received the knives first have noticed that there are those who are willing to pay a premium in the aftermarket for the knife.  Example, the collector who received number 6 hears from number 48 on the list asking if the collector wants to sell.  A deal is struck and number 48 now has the knife.  Usually number 48 doesn’t take the time to let the maker know that they are no longer interested in the knife.  This type of transactions coupled with the maker taking too long for the fast-paced high energy forumites who decided that they are no longer interested in that knife.  As the next “Hot” maker emerges.  What happens is that many of those waiting for knives decide to spend their money on the next “Hot” knife maker’s latest fare.  Again, (in many cases) not telling the maker that they no longer want the knife they had on order.  Ultimately, due to the extended delivery times the maker ends up with knives that are not going to be paid for.  The knives they are left with are “old news” and no longer sought after.  In many cases previously owned knives from the “Hot” maker can be found for sale at a loss on the very same forum.  Note to custom knife makers reading this…always contact the buyer BEFORE you start the knife!

The second scenario is similar except the maker is even more of a part time maker…generally 20 knives a year or less.  This scenario is where the “Appreciation” is for those who can identify a maker and/or their knives early on that will have mass appeal.  As with the first scenario the knives are considered to be a “deal”.  Everyone knows that very few of these knives will be available drives the aftermarket price up to 8 times the retail price.  Eventually, the price becomes too high and collectors refocus what will be the next knife they want and return to the hunt for the next “Hot” maker.  Two items of note in this scenario; first, the maker only receives the initial sales price for the knife.  Second, it is because of the first item that a maker can step on to the slippery slope.  That is using the aftermarket price to justify a huge retail price increase.  Those makers who chose to do this will unknowingly limit their knife career.  As eventually the aftermarket price will come down and will leave the maker trying to sell knives for more money than the market will bear.

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Part 1    Part 2    Part 4   Part 5

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

05
AUG
2018

Toni Oostendorp

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It was the “look” of Toni’s knives that first attracted me. You could tell immediately the Bull Shark and Orbis models were made by someone who was a user. There were no wasted aspects of his knives. They are all business. The integral aspect of the knife gives the user complete confidence using his knives in the field. The handle materials are contoured and provide great ergonomics. I am a big fan of the rubber grips and I am happy to see that Toni offers this option. The Cerakote finish he provides in addition to making the knife fit in with the user’s environment or task, gives the carbon steel an extra layer of protection from rusting. Finally, his Kydex sheath is extremely well thought out and is among the best currently being offered by any maker in the World. Toni Oostendorp received his ABS Journeyman Smith stamp at the 2018 Blade Show!

Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at les@robertsonscustomcutlery.com or (706) 650-0252.

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