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05
JUL
2021

FEATURED FORGED BOWIES

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Shop Our Forged Bowies

Greg Keith Forged Damascus Custom Bowie Amber Stag Knife ABS Journeyman Smith Ladder Pattern

Greg Keith Forged Damascus Bowie $1,200.00

Taylor Mosaic Damascus Bowie w/ Ivory $2,400.00

Lin Rhea Forged ABS Competition Cutter Custom Bowie World Champion Blade Show Master Smith

Lin Rhea ABS Competition Cutter $1,200.00

Brion Tomberlin Forged ST-24 Bowie Custom Knife with Hamon Mammoth Ivory Moran ABS Master Smith

Tomberlin Forged ST-24 Bowie $1,500.00

Hancock Arkansas Toothpick Damascus

Wheeler Forged Damascus Bowie $2,100.00

Greg Keith Damascus Bowie $1,075.00

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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.

28
JUN
2021

BLADE SHOW 2021 – Les’ Take

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The 2021 Blade Show was the 35th Blade Show I have attended. There is no doubt that Covid had a substantial impact on the show. Most of the international makers and collectors were not there. It appeared that several US-based collectors and makers chose not to attend for reasons that were their own. That said, the show had plenty to offer, with comradery being at the top of the list.

It was great to once again visit face to face with old friends and meet new acquaintances. While the attendance and table numbers may have been down from previous years, there was still enough to see to fill your days at the show. Having been a judge this year for the custom knife competition, I found I could have used those two hours back to walk the rooms. That said, being a judge does have its merits as you get to look at some of the very best knives that the Blade Show has to offer, side by side.

Mike Malosh Forged Hunter Copper liners Custom Knife Great Value
One of my goals each year for the show is to find new makers to work with. This year I found two such makers; Mike Malosh and Brian Selby. Mike specializes in William Scagle type knives. However, this year he offered handles that were a little more conventional. I bought a hunter with black Micarta and a camp knife with an Elk handle. I purchased both of these early on Friday. It was a good thing I did. Mike sold all 28 of the knives he brought before the end of the day. Apparently, others saw the same things I did. Quality work at a value price.


I purchased 3 knives from a maker new to me, Brian Selby. He specializes in EDC tactical fixed blades. His Folsom Necker has a 2.1″ blade with a Kydex sheath that offers multiple carry options. His Full-Size Folsom features a 4″ blade. All have Black DLC coating and textured G-10 scales. I particularly liked his Kydex sheaths as they locked up great and secured the knife. Once again, these knives featured quality work at a value price.

RJ Martin Q36 LSCF Tactical Folding Knife Signature model Orange peel Finish Titanium
RJ Martin fresh off his exceptional Tactical Knife Invitational Show the weekend before Blade, he brought 6 knives to Blade and of course, sold out. RJ was nice enough to bring me a Q36 with Lightning Strike Carbon Fiber scales and an S110V blade.

I stopped by Stephen Fowler’s table and there was a Bowie he brought that looked great. Not surprisingly he had sold the knife before I got to his table. He did; however, have a smaller knife featuring his exception Fire Starter Turkish Twist Damascus. I ordered the Bowie that was on his table with this steel and Desert Ironwood. I’m looking forward to seeing how this one turns out. Check back…

As it is with most shows, some sell out, some sell at least a few and others sell nothing. Too many makers still do not understand their position in the market that they are competing in. Subsequently, their knives are overpriced and they continue to not understand why. No, it is not the crowd, the promoters, or the medical circumstances surrounding the show. Today’s buyers are very educated on what knives should sell for. Consequently, when they see overpriced knives; many, not all, will walk away from the table. I have been encouraged by the Editor of Blade Magazine to write yet another article on this very subject.

I’m sure the Blade Show will be back in 2022 in all its glory. The showroom will be packed with knives and collectors. Have to say, I did enjoy being able to move about the show freely this year, a plus for fewer attendance.

25
APR
2021

CONGRATS TO JOSH FISHER, MS

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Congratulations to Josh Fisher for achieving his Master Smith rating from the American Bladesmith Society.  Additionally, he was awarded the Dr. Carl Nelson Award for the best knife submitted by a Master Smith Candidate.

Nelson Award Winner 2021

Josh Fisher ABS Master Smith Forged Custom Damascus Fighter Best Award Winner

Also, congratulations to his daughter, Karis Fisher, for being awarded her Journeyman Smith rating from the American Blade Smith Society.  She also won the Joe Keeslar Award for the best knife submitted by a Journeyman Smith Candidate.

A very special achievement for both of them!!

Click here to learn more about the custom knife maker, Josh Fisher.

Josh Fisher Master Smith ABS Mosiac Damascus

Josh Fisher ABS Journeyman Smith Forged Custom San Mai Stag Hunter

Josh Fisher, ABS Master Smith Twist 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 customknives@comcast.net or (706) 650-0252.

06
APR
2021

Tools for Serious Work- Tactical Fixed Blades

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WC Johnson Recurve Bowie Tactical Custom Knife Hefty Bead Blasted Survival

WC Johnson Recurve Tactical Custom Bowie In Stock $555.00

I have written over the years about my theory on custom knives trends moving cyclically with smaller cycles moving within. Today we are seeing the reemergence of the tactical fixed blade cycle.  No, this is not the first time this has happened but it has been a couple of decades.   Routinely at shows I attend, I am asked for my opinion on new or even established maker’s tactical fixed blades.  There are, of course, the questions of quality, but over the past several years the question asked of me most often has become; “Is this knife worth the money?”  

With so much information available today it can be difficult to differentiate the honesty from the hype.  Whether you are building a collection or looking for that knife that will be utilized as the tool it was designed to be.   Many of today’s collectors are looking for value in the knives they are buying.  Not so much with an eye towards investment but will the knife hold its value. Those looking for a tool want the very best they can get for their money.   

Dwyer Cave Bear Tactical Fighter

Duane Dwyer Cave Bear Tactical Fighter In Stock $750.00

Thirty-seven years ago, I arrived at the 101st Airborne as an Infantry officer.  It was there I was introduced to what would be called today’s tactical fixed blades.  Back then there were often called combat or fighting knives.  When I purchased my first custom knife it was bought as a tool, not a combat or fighting knife.  The US Army was kind enough to issue me both an M16 rifle and a .45 pistol.  I was on my own to buy a quality custom knife.  That first knife was the 8” Robert Parrish hollow handle survival knife; great field knife.  I feel this knife has the finest serrations ever put on a fixed blade. However, it was those very serrations that made the knife non-deployable so I had to find a replacement.  The replacement knife was the 8 ½” Model 2 by Walter Brend.  

Walter Brend Model 1 Tactical Fighter Custom Knife Survival

Brend Model 1 Tactical Fighter             In Stock $2,450.00

That is not to say that other custom knives were not purchased.  I rapidly went from user to a collector who used most of his knives.  I was fortunate enough to have attended the US Army’s Jungle and Northern Warfare Schools.  Additional training areas included the desert and other more friendly environments. These locations provided numerous opportunities to try out different styles of knives. I gained a wealth of knowledge of what styles and materials worked and what did not. 

There were then and are now many basic entry-level tactical fixed blades.  In most cases, these knives are lighter and slenderer for easier carry.  They come in two types: no guard or an integral guard.  Guards are on the knives not to aid you in defense of assailant with another knife.  They are primarily there to protect your hand from slipping onto the blade.  A secondary feature of a guard, especially a double guard will give better control of the knife. 

Neill Schutte Custom Knife Loveless Style Tactical Dagger South Africa

Neill Schutte Custom Loveless Style Tactical Dagger In Stock $875.00

The problem with an integral guard is the damage it can and will cause to the area of hand between your thumb and forefinger.  Authors note: I would highly recommend wearing a good quality leather glove while using one of these knives. Yes, this is the voice of experience and several field-expedient butterfly bandages to take care of the wound caused by just such a fixed blade. Today many of the knives come with an integral guard covered with the handle material making it more comfortable in the hand.  If that area is nothing more than a square or rectangle without the edges being rounded; well, you have been warned. 

These styles of knives and hunters are more times than not a maker’s first attempt at making a knife due to their limited budget and ease of building.   Many of these knives will fill the bill for exactly what you are looking for a knife to do. But understand that this style of knife lends itself to waterjet or other types of outsourced cutting of both blade blanks and scales. As long as the maker acknowledges this as part of the knife making and their pricing reflects this, there is nothing wrong with this.  It helps the maker produce a quality knife faster, make more of them and keep the price down.  This benefits the user/collector, as well.

By now, you have come to surmise that I am a fan of guards on my tactical fixed blades; in particular, double guards. Both for the safety and control, they offer the user. An issue for a collector or user can be finding tactical fixed blades with double or even single guards.  The market for these knives may be limited, but the sense of control you feel in your hand while holding one makes the hunt worthwhile. Between a 6 and a 9-inch blade is the sweet spot for these knives.  My experience in the field taught me that a big knife can do a smaller knife chore, but not the other way around.  

Having one of these knives in your hand gives you a feeling that you can accomplish whatever task lay before you.  Do some research and, if possible, handle some of these knives at the next show you attend. Appreciate the craftsmanship and skill level that goes into these custom knives. 

There is a reason that these particular tactical fixed blades are not mass-produced. Check out our collection of fixed blades here.

03
MAR
2021

Rod Chappel History

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Rod Chappel was published in the very 1st Blade Magazine back in 1973…

Rod Chappel Blade Magazine 1st Edition 1973 American Blade History

The 1st Blade Magazine! The American Blade Vol. 1, No. 1 May – June, 1973

Many of us are lead into custom knives because of the failure of a factory-made knife we were using.  That was the case for me and was also the case for Rod Chappel.  In 1967, a factory knife failed on a hunt that lead him to explore making custom knives.  His first stop on this journey was to the legendary Bill Moran for more information on how to forge blades.   The next stop was to spend time in the shop of legendary maker, Gil Hibben.  Then with the help and guidance of legendary knifemaker, Harvey Draper, he started making knives. 

Rod Chappel 1st Custom Knife Harvey Draper History

Rod Chappel holding the first knife he ever built in Harvey Drapers shop. (photo: The American Blade)

In 1970, Rod started making custom knives full time in his Grandfather Roderick Davis’ boat shop in Spokane, Washington.  This is why the knives from the 1970s’ have the mark “Davis Knives” instead of his CHAPPEL logo. As a former architect and civil engineer, he felt comfortable first putting knife designs on paper like a blueprint, if you will. He had a deep appreciation for perfection. He had many designs, but note the Lewis & Clark, Mini Mag Bowie, Coeur D’Alene Fish Knife and Woodsman Bowie (Combat Bowie). They may look familiar since they are currently on our site. 

Rod Chappel Original Knife Drawings *

Rod Chappel Custom Knives Blue Prints Combat Bowie

Rod Chappel Original Knife Drawings *

Each Christmas Rod would build one knife to be sold to buy his children Christmas gifts.  These knives are all marked Christmas, followed by the name of the knife.

In 1984, my wife and I were headed to Chicago returning from our honeymoon, I was reading the Inflight Magazine.  In this magazine was an article on knife photographer, Jim Weyer.  One of the featured knives in that article was the Rod Chappel Hunting Leopard Combat Bowie with an Ivory handle.  At that time, it was the most incredible knife I had ever seen!  Instantly I became a huge fan of his knives.

Over the next 20 years, the search for a Chappel Hunting Leopard Combat Bowie with an Ivory handle began. I had bought a couple of smaller Chappels, but it wasn’t until 2004, (ironically I was flying out of Chicago) when I had purchased my first Ivory-handled Chappel Hunting Leopard Combat Bowie at a show there. 

Rod Chappel Hunting Leopard Combat Bowie Walrus Ivory Collectible Custom Knife Number 001

Due to his Alaskan Native American lineage, Rod was able to legally utilize supreme handle materials such as walrus tusk ivory or whales teeth for some of his knives. Rod’s knives are instantly recognizable with their sweeping grinds and carved handles.  His knives are very collectible and difficult to find.  He achieved what most makers/artists strive for; a unique look and/or style.  Rod Chappel passed away in 2017, but his artwork remains ever alive and inspiring for collectors and sportsmen alike.

 

*photo from the original American Blade magazine article about Chappel.

29
JAN
2021

Custom Fixed Blades for All

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FIGHTERS, HUNTERS AND BOWIES

We continue to try to add more knives to meet your custom knife needs.  If you have something specific in mind, please contact us and we will try to help or order it for you. 

 
Walter Brend Model 1 Tactical Fighting Custom Knife

WALTER BREND MODEL 1 FIGHTING KNIFE

Billy Mace Imel integral Custom Hunting Knife

BILLY MACE IMEL INTEGRAL DROP POINT HUNTER

Loyd McConnel Drop Point Hunter Custom Knife Desert Ironwood engraved handle pins Great value full tapered tang

LOYD MCCONNELL DROP POINT HUNTER

Mark Terrell Modern Scalpel neck Knife skeletonized handle Sharp Custom Knife

MARK TERRELL MODERN SCALPEL NECK KNIFE

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.

11
JAN
2021

New Year – New Knives

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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2021!
These TEN NEW ARRIVALS show the variety of custom knives we carry and we continue to add more to meet your interests.  If you are looking for something in particular, please contact us and we will try to find or order it for you. Thank you to all our loyal customers in 2020.

 
Lin Rhea Forged Competition Cutter Walnut Custom Bowie #2 ABS Journeyman Smith World Cutting Championship Blade Show

Lin Rhea Forged Competition Cutter #2 World Cutting Championship Blade Show

Wess Barnhill Custom Forged Feather Pattern Damascus Frame Handle Hunter Mammoth Ivory Museum Fit handleABS Journeyman Smith Winner George Peck Award

Wess Barnhill Forged Feather Damascus Frame Handle Hunter

 

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.

28
OCT
2020

Great Selection Available

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BLADE STEEL & HANDLE MATERIAL OPTIONS

These three new arrivals show a unique contrast in blade steel, finish and handle material.

MIKE CRADDOCK FORGED FEATHER PATTERN DAMASCUS FIGHTER The Mike Craddock Feather Pattern Damascus Fighter features a very popular pattern right now. This pattern is made by creating a 1” block, stacking Damascus several inches high, then cutting the steel with a dull wedge from top to bottom. This dull wedge stretches the layers as it splits, rather than a clean cut. The two pieces are then forge-welded back together stretching the bar out to expose a new seam and stretching the “feathers” even farther. Creating this pattern is very labor-intensive! On average 33% of the billets end up being thrown away. Because of this, Feather Pattern Damascus is one of the more expensive patterns. The guard on this knife is 416 Stainless Steel. Without a doubt, this handle material, Desert Ironwood, is the more popular wood used on custom knives today.  Its burls and grains combined with its natural stability, are what makes it so desirable. Excellent, tight Feather Pattern Damascus! Great balance; the contoured handle provides excellent handle ergonomics. The knife moves effortlessly in your hand. 

CLAUDIO AND ARIEL SOBRAL (CAS) FORGED SAN MAI FIGHTER This Claudio and Ariel Sobral (CAS) knife features a 420/1095 blade. The steel is produced by combining 3 layers which is the literal translation of the Japanese word, San Mai. The core of this particular knife is 1095 carbon steel and the outside layers are 420 stainless steel. The rough part at the top of the blade is called Brute de Forge, which are hammer marks made on the blade during forging. Most custom knife buyers are familiar with 416 stainless steel, which is primarily used for guards. 420 stainless is a higher carbon version of 416 that can be hardened by heat-treating it. The guard is 420 Stainless steel and the handle material is a synthetic, black micarta. Excellent example of a San Mai blade with a Brute de Forge (Hammer marks) finish. The knife has great balance and fantastic handle ergonomics. 

SCHUYLER LOVESTRAND IVORY F-1 SUB-HILT FIGHTER  The Schuyler Lovestrand’s F-1 Sub-Hilt Fighter features 154CM steel. This is high carbon steel features 14% Chromium. This gives the steel the ability to be polished to a mirror finish, should the client want that. Additionally, the steel features 4% Molybdenum which adds to the steels ability to hold its edge. The guard and sub-hilt are 416 stainless steel. The handle material is Mammoth Ivory. This Ivory is legal to work, sell, and own. Double hollow ground, double-edged, full tapered tang with red fiber liners. Schuyler is one of the very few makers who has mastered the full tapered tang sub-hilt 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 customknives@comcast.net or (706) 650-0252.

17
SEP
2020

Hand Forged Knives: What To Look For

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The forged blade conjures up both real and surreal images in the minds of both makers and collectors.  Makers let their minds eye see the blade take shape by their hand in their shop.  Every detail is considered until the knife or sword is complete.   Collectors envision how the maker got a piece of steel to the finished product as they hold it in their hand, delighted with the combination of materials, the quick/light feel and the balance sought after in all fixed blades. 

Larry Cox Forged Damascus Fighting Knife

Today the majority of makers who forge blades belong to the American Bladesmith Society (ABS).  This is not to say that a maker cannot produce an exceptional forged blade if they do not belong to this organization.   The ABS offers three rating levels.  First is the Apprentice Smith; this is the entry level for makers who want to learn what forging a blade and making a knife is about.   The next two ratings require testing.   Journeyman Smith requires the maker to be a member of the ABS for at least two years.   The maker must complete the Introduction to Bladesmithing course providing them with the basics for making a forged blade.   There are additional requirements for those wanting to be a Journeyman Smith.   After successfully attaining the JS rating, a maker will have to wait a minimum of two years before testing for Master Smith. All the testing requirements can be found on their website at www.americanbladesmith.com.  

Will Morrison Forged Bowie with Hamon SOLD

Early on I found what attracted me most to forged blades were how light the larger knives were, particularly the Bowies.  The forged blades feature what is called distal tapering.  The blades are forged in almost a wedge type shape, thick at the top and very thin on the edge.   This technique will reduce the weight on any forged blade.   The other feature that has really garnered attention is the Hamon or temper line.   This is created by differential heat treat of the blade.   Part of the aforementioned JS Test is for the maker to put a blade into a vice and bend it 90 degrees without the blade breaking.  The temper line is visible on all forged blades although you may have to look close as some will be camouflaged by a very good satin finish. Many of the knives today will feature W2 steel which if tempered properly will have a very distinct and unique temper line. 

Scott McGhee Forged Damascus Zulu Fighter

When looking at a forged blade it is not so different from looking at a knife that has been made through the stock removal method.   First does the knife appeal to me.   Let’s be honest here, there are knives out there that primarily will appeal only to the maker.  I like to see a proper blade to handle ratio.   Most handles will be 4 ½” to 5” depending on the type and style of knife.   I have seen knives that feature a 3 ½” blade and 5” handle.   Perhaps there was a specific purpose for that knife.  However, it just doesn’t look right.   Obviously a smaller or larger hand may require an adjustment to the handle length and possibly the blade length.   Part of the reason for a proper blade to handle ratio is to insure the proper balance for the knife.  Generally, about where the guard would be is where the blade should balance.  Some knives depending on the blade length and/or stock may balance a little in front of the guard.  Some knives with a bigger handle may balance a little behind the guard area.  As you hold the knife in your hands you will find the handle is an ergonomic fit or it is not.   Some knives just seem to become one with your hand and others can be uncomfortable to hold.  

Forged Blade: Handles

Handles on forged blades will basically come in 3 styles: Mortise Tang, Stick Tang, Frame.

Mortise Tang

A piece of handle material is split down the center.  Then the a pocket is created for the tang on each side.  Only enough material is removed so as to have the scales match back up when they are glued together.  On a very good job you will have difficulty finding the line where the two pieces of material come back together. On others it will be very apparent that the knife features a mortise tang configuration.

Scott McGhee Cottonmouth Fighting Knife

Stick Tang

The handle material will be drilled down the center and depending on the set up of the handle the tang may or may not go all the way to the other end.  Often wood handles with a hidden tang will feature a couple of pins to help hold the tang in place. This is done primarily as a back up and often the pins feature a mosaic pattern.   The other style generally found on Stag often referred to as “carver” handles.  As the piece of stag looks like one found on the older type carver sets used to carve meat at the dinner table.  Often these will feature a spacer of stainless steel or Damascus file worked to match the Stag.  The tang will come all the way through the handle and spacer and screw into a finial at the end of the handle.  You will find this often with Ivory with or without the spacer and finial.   Note that on both Ancient Walrus Ivory and Stag there may be a curve to the left or right which can add or detract from the handle ergonomics. 

Frame Handle

The third type of handle is the frame handle; which is exactly what it sounds like.  A separate frame which will also feature the guard is built with the handle material (and often liners of sometime) fitted into the sides of the frame. The tang is then put into the frame and is secured by pins and bolts that are under the handle material or they can be showing.   It can be deceptive as it appears to be a full tang knife.   That is your first clue that it is more than likely a frame handle.  This type of handle is the most expensive because of the amount of work it takes to create it. 

Forged Blade Steel

Depending on the intended use, the environment of use and any other unusual parameters the type of steel used can make a big difference.   That said while looking at a forge blade three things to look for are: 1) is the edge sharp.  Often people want to run their finger along the edge or across their thumb nail.   I would caution you about this.   I would suggest brining paper or a magazine with you.  Test the edge on something other than your body parts.   2) The blade finish.   What you are looking for here is straight lines from the front of the guard to the point.   Everything should be going horizontally on the blade. I find pointing the tip towards the lights overhead and looking along the blade a great way to see the finish.  3) Symmetry.  That is to say are any grinds equal on both sides.  Points where the grinds come together are the best place to look.  Example: the choil area, where you can often tell if the maker is left or right handed.  

Damascus while difficult to create has become more abundant.  Comprised not only of a combination of carbon steels and nickel, stainless steel Damascus is now an option. Damascus will go from the basic Ladder and Twist pattern to more exotic patterns and finally to mosaic patterns.  Literally your name, a flag, Santa and his reindeer, etc. can be put into Damascus steel.  Two things you will want to look for are an even acid etch on the Damascus. The other would be separations between the layers within the Damascus. 

I feel sheaths are a must for hunting knives, especially carbon steel hunting knives.   Often these knives are bought with the idea that they will be used and as such you will need something to carry the knife in.   If you are just putting the knife into your collection you may or may not want a sheath.  

The problem with sheaths for carbon steel and Damascus bladed knives is that it gives the impression to some that the knife can be stored in the sheath.  In the case of carbon steel and Damascus bladed knives they should never be stored in the sheath.  It is not will the blades rust it is how soon they will rust.

The good news for those who like sheaths is that there are several very talented sheath makers who can create whatever your budget can afford! 

Quandaries with Forged Blades, Rating Systems and Business Practices  

In the mid 1980’s when Damascus was making its first appearance at knife shows.  I ran into two well known Master Smiths who were touting their “secret steel and techniques” made their steel special.  It turned out that their steel and/or techniques were far from special.   I would caution you to be leery of any forged blade maker who would use the “secret” word.   

The forged blade makers out there do an excellent job in sharing their knowledge with their fellow makers.   The teaching at the Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing in Texarkana Texas is done by Master Smiths.  Additionally there are other schools and hammer ins across the United States that allow the knowledge of the forged blade to be passed from maker to maker.  

While the ABS has excellent guidelines and testing procedures that makers must meet in order for their knives to pass the tests to attain their JS or MS stamp.   This does not mean that every knife build will maintain that high standard set for their test knives.   Today you will find some makers with a JS stamp are better than some of the makers with an MS stamp. This is primarily because of better equipment and better dissemination of information.  It is up to you to be able to compare apples to apples when it comes to materials and techniques that are used on similar knives.  

Purchasing Tips

Before you purchase or order a knife it is always best to talk with the maker.   Ask them about why they use particular materials for the knives on their table, etc.  While some may be slow to talk about their knives (as many makers feel this is bragging) once they understand you interested in their decision making process.  They should be more than happy to answer any and all questions.   If for some reason the maker won’t or can’t answer question(s) about their work.  You may want to consider finding another maker for your project or your collection.  However, understand that at a show they do have other people to talk with as well.   The more you as a collector know the better more specific questions you can ask.  

You should understand that most knife makers are part time makers.  As such their level of business expertise will vary.  This is why communication is so important between the maker and the buyer.   Two issues that can arise here are the delivery time and deposits.   With very few exceptions should you put a deposit down on a order.  An example would be if you are asking for very expensive materials to be used, i.e. gold, ivory, gem stones, etc.   You can expect the maker to ask you for money up front to purchase those.  Make sure to work out the money details at the time you place the order.  Makers who insist on a 50% deposit should be avoided.  For those makers who insist on payment in full up front.   Run don’t walk away from them. 

Delivery times are going to vary.  More than likely the maker will be late.  Understand this is not done intentionally.  Makers will give you their very best estimate of when your knife will be completed.   As you can imagine once you go more than 6 months out it can be difficult to give you an exact delivery date.   So plan on being a little patient and stay in contact with the maker.   Once again good communication is the key.

Just like the forged blade makers the forged blade buyers have a wide variety of resources they can use to educate themselves on what to look for with regards to knives in this category.   The ABS website is a wealth of information regarding what is expected of makers with a particular rating.   Given the amount of Hammer In’s and knife shows that are in the US there is probably one close to you.   A basic understanding of how a knife is made can go a long way to give you an appreciation/education on how easy or difficult some aspect of knife making can be.  The Internet can be mined for a treasure trove of aftermarket potential of particular a particular makers work.  

Knowing what a maker’s position in a particular market is allows you determine what you should pay for a given knife.   This will get you the best bang for your buck. 

Forged blades seem to offer almost a limitless variety of styles and materials. Making this aspect of the custom knife market something every collector should explore. 

Interested in purchasing a forged blade? Look at our selection here.

06
SEP
2020

RESPECT “SWEAT LABOR”

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SOME LIKE IT HOT!

These New Damascus Custom Bowies & Camp Knives are just that… HOT!
These Bladesmiths put a lot of “Sweat Labor” into forging the Damascus steel prior to making the Bowies/Camp Knives. And this is no easy task!
This Labor Day, we pay respect to all the custom knife makers for their creativity, talent, determination and; of course, hard work that goes into each custom made knife.


Steve Randall Forged Mosaic Damascus Bowie ABS Master Smith custom knife Rare Fossil Walrus Ivory

Steve Randall Mosaic Damascus Bowie

Josh Fisher ABS Journeyman Smith Forged Custom Damascus Twist Pattern Camp Knife Frame Handle

Josh Fisher Twist Damascus Camp Knife

Stephan Fowler Forged Ladder Pattern Damascus Bowie Custom Knife Stag ABS Journeyman Smith

Stephan Fowler Forged Damascus Bowie

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.

26
AUG
2020

Daggers: A Brief History

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TIM HANCOCK FRAME HANDLED FORGED ARIZONA TOOTHPICK DAMASCUS DAGGER
Neill Schutte Loveless Style Tactical Dagger II Custom Knife South Africa
NEILL SCHUTTE LOVELESS STYLE TACTICAL DAGGER
Neill Schutte Loveless Style Tactical Dagger II Custom Knife South Africa
NEILL SCHUTTE LOVELESS STYLE TACTICAL DAGGER II

The dagger. Unlike the blade designs that carry the names; hunter, fighter, Bowie or even sword, daggers almost always conjure up a singular image in the mind. Primarily, a blade evenly ground on either side of a center line to a point and sharpened on both sides. Now the steel or the guard (or lack thereof) or handle may differ from knife to knife, but the blade remains the same.

My First Custom Tactical Dagger

My entry into the world of custom knives in 1984 saw the emergence of the golden age of art daggers. Buster Warenski left no doubt that he was the Master Craftsman of that era. Other makers doing exceptional work during that time included Willie Rigney, Fred Carter, and Billy Mace Imel. For those of you unfamiliar with any of the previous names I would encourage you to utilize your “Google-Fu” and search these makers and their work out. Having been a fan of the F-S Dagger, I was forced to stop at the table of Billy Imel at the Guild show in the early 1990’s. On his table was his version of the F-S dagger; beautiful, sleek and deadly. I’m sure other makers had done this before, but this is the first Fairbairn Sykes custom tactical dagger I remember seeing. 

Dagger History

ROD CHAPPEL (DAVIS KNIVES) BOOT KNIFE

Daggers have been around as long as man. Early daggers were made of flint, ivory or bone either as a stand alone blade or attached to a piece of wood. As war and its weapons evolved, daggers were made from bronze and then later from iron ore. As armor, such as steel chain mail and plate armor were resistant to slashes and cuts, the need for a weapon to penetrate was created. The dagger was the ideal weapon for this using the reverse grip. The dagger was employed in a downward technique to increase the thrust and penetrative force. As armor fell out of favor the dagger became more of a weapon of choice. During the Renaissance era the dagger became popular as a secondary weapon to the sword; then to be used in concert with a sword. During this time the dagger became part of everyday dress and they were the only weapon the common man could carry without drawing attention to himself. During this time the dagger in the form of a bayonet attached to the end of the rifle was also implemented.   

Perhaps the most familiar daggers to us were the ones that started to show up during WWI. Trench warfare demanded weapons for close-in work to be developed. Given the close quarters in the trenches, officers moved from carrying sabers/swords to wearing daggers. This trend for the officers continued after WW1 and into WW2. WW2 will be remembered for many thing; however, it may be the golden age of tactical dagger designs. Even though the Fairbairn-Sykes (F-S) and Case V-42 weren’t developed until seventy-five years later, they still captured the imagination of knife users, collectors and knife makers. 

Fuller or Blood Groove

The fuller, or as some call it, the blood groove, is an additional step to this process. As it adds both time and an additional skill set to put this into the blade. A common misnomer is that the blood groove is added to allow blood to flow from a wound allowing the blade to be more easily removed. The other misnomer is that suction is created by the entry of the knife. The blood groove allows air to be introduced to the wound allowing for easier retrieval. The actual reason for the fuller is to remove weight from the blade while maintaining the strength. The act of twisting the knife would aid in retrieval much better than any groove in the blade.   

Today’s Daggers

The custom fixed blade market is seeing a resurgence of tactical daggers. The tried and true variants of the F-S and Case V42 are making their appearance again.  

A classic design will always find those who want to either own or make a knife based on a classic design. Other makers are providing their take on one of man’s oldest blade designs. 

At first glance, the dagger blade seems to be a basic knife to grind. However, it is the symmetry of the blade that makes it very difficult to keep all four grinds symmetrical. It is the centerline from the front of the guard to the end of the tip that makes or breaks the symmetry. Failure to achieve that straight grind will eliminate the possibility of achieving that symmetry. Even for very well-known knife makers achieving the symmetry is not a given. While judging the custom knife competition at the Blade Show I have seen two knives; both with an asking price of at least $15,000.00 with a crooked centerline. Why the knife maker would knowingly let that knife out of his shop with that obvious mistake one can only guess.   

As was shown by the soldiers of WWII the dagger can and will be used for a myriad of purposes. However, the blade did not always lend itself to the job at hand. Many FS daggers were ruined as their owners broke the tips trying to open ration cans. While today most will find their way into collections. The lethality of the dagger has not changed and most will be able to accomplish the chore they were designed for all those thousands of years ago.

Interested in purchasing your own Sykes Fairbairn or tactical dagger? Place an order for one by Walter Brend here.

23
FEB
2020

7 Tips for Buying Custom Knives

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We thought you might enjoy a recent article written by Mike Haskew in January 2020 on BladeMagazine.com, “7 Tips for Buying Custom Knives.” 

Les Robertson said many custom knife buyers/collectors make the mistake of overlooking a maker’s skill level, quality, customer service, and/or delivery issues because the knife can be sold immediately for a profit. The presentation Bastion Dagger by Tim Steingass features an armor-piercing tip. (SharpByCoop knife image)

1) Know the Trends

“This has got to be through the old way of human contact,” Bob Loveless knife specialist John Denton observed, “sort of like the lunchroom in school. You hang out, listen, see what is moving, what dealers are buying and, of course, now with the ‘inter-web,’ we have so much more information within seconds, while in the ’70s or ’80s we had to wait for BLADE® Magazine or the gun magazines to run stories on Loveless.

“Shows are still important to attend, but nowhere like they were years ago. Face to face is still part of the knife world.”

2) Maker Charisma

A lot depends on whether the maker has the kind of personality that appeals to the knife enthusiast. At Blade Gallery, Daniel O’Malley specializes in one-of-a-kind custom knives. The answer includes multiple factors.

“There are a lot of things that go into making a knifemaker’s knives ‘hot,’” he reasoned. “Part of it is the personality of the maker. When a collector meets a maker for the first time, the collector often has a picture in his head of what the maker will be like. If the maker falls short [of the collector’s expectations], it can be quite disillusioning.”

3) Customer Service

“[The maker] being willing to repair knives when there is a problem is also very important,” O’Malley continued. “It can easily make the difference in a collector continuing to purchase a maker’s work. It can even be the difference in whether a person continues to collect the maker’s knives over time.

“After all, if a collector has spent a large sum of money on their collection, it can be very nerve wracking to find that it’s hard to get a damaged knife repaired. Similarly, it can be comforting if a problem can be relatively painlessly solved.”

4) Do Your Homework

Les Robertson of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery offers custom fixed blade and folding knives, including tacticals and presentation pieces, as well as some exclusives. His take on the delicate topic of a maker’s reliability and the quality of the maker’s work is sage advice for knife enthusiasts in any price range or level of experience.

“I give my client the very best information I have at the time,” Robertson asserted. “This includes issues with a maker or the quality of their work. Often, a maker’s skill level, quality, customer service, and/or delivery issues are overlooked because the knife can be sold immediately for a profit.

“Given the prices of many of the custom knives today, I highly recommend that collectors do their homework before purchasing a knife.

“I realize this takes away from the thrill of instant gratification and removes some of the fun out of the hobby. Long term, though, you will feel great about every knife you have bought, and your wallet will thank you.”

Purveyor John Denton said he turned down $60,000 at the 2014 BLADE Show for this Big Bear in sheep horn and Dan Wilkerson engraving. (Point Seven knife image)

5) Set An Allowance

Everyone, it seems, has spending limits. The role of the dealer often involves assisting clients in determining how much to spend. Recognition of the amount of disposable income available keeps a buyer/collector in the game.

6) Collect With A Purpose

Denton advises customers to acquire some knowledge on prices and to assess their real purpose for buying custom knives in the first place.

“First of all, you want collectors to be educated,” he commented, “and not to be buying just to make money. That is the riskiest way to approach collecting. But then if they buy what they like and in three years can’t get 10 cents on the dollar, it will cut their knife buying down and drive them out of the market.”

Dealer Dave Ellis notes that the investment perspective differs greatly from that of the collector who wants to enjoy, build and retain knives for years to come.

“When I chat with newbies,” he remarked, “a lot of them get into knives from an investment standpoint. They have read in the Wall Street Journal that investing in knives is a good idea, or heard about a knife that was purchased for $800 and then sold for $8,000. I tell them to buy what they like first and to worry about resale later because if it doesn’t pan out, then they won’t have to hold onto something they don’t like.”

Taking a measured approach is key to successful, price-sensitive acquisitions.

“I tell the collector to pace themselves,” Denton said. “Get into a knife that will be easy to turn if you get tired of it down the road. I’ve had several people ask me to build them a $300,000 collection, and I tell them I don’t do that because they will get mad if they don’t make 14 percent growth per year—and they don’t know why they’re buying the knife.

“The true collector has studied the knives and the market, and he will realize what knives are worth and what he can resell them for.”

Those who are new to the custom knife market can tap a great resource in a top dealer. Advice on the market, prevailing prices and hot makers is only part of the relationship. High-end folders by BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member Ron Lake, Warren Osborne and Jim Martin, along with Loveless fixed blades, are among Ellis’s offerings.

When Dave talks with a new buyer/collector, he asks a few basic questions.

“There are more heavy hitters getting in the game with lots of money,” he said, “but that doesn’t mean they are buying the right things. What have their interests been up to now? Did they grow up with knives? Do they carry and use a knife? What is their reason for buying now? Use it? Collect it? Give it to a nephew for college graduation? I don’t want to offer a $7,000 Loveless hunter when a $150 skinner by any smith will do.”

7) Attend Shows That Fit

Though knife shows may be one of many ways to gain information and see what is out there, the individual contact with dealers, makers and other knife enthusiasts is invaluable. Attending shows that mean the most to the individual buyer’s needs and wants helps in the education process and in finding the people and knives that enhance the experience.

Robertson attends the BLADE Show due directly to its diversity of custom knives for sale. He says that the Arkansas Custom Knife Show is also one of the premier forged blade shows and features apprentice, journeyman and master smiths in the American Bladesmith Society.

“The New York Custom Knife Show offers a variety of knives from very well-known custom knifemakers,” Robertson added. “This show in recent years has had more of a tactical knife flavor. The USN Show offers the widest variety of tactical folders you will see at any show in the world.”

These are just a few of Robertson’s picks. Other shows are out there, and many of them are quite beneficial to knife enthusiasts looking for certain styles of knives and/or makers.

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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.

05
FEB
2020

2 New Knife Videos Added

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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 watch the knife videos and learn inside tips about these one-of-a-kind custom made knives.

TIM HANCOCK FRAME HANDLED FORGED ARIZONA TOOTHPICK DAMASCUS DAGGER KNIFE

Tim Hancock Custom Damascus Dagger One-Of-A-Kind Award Winning ABS Master Smith

 

DAVID BROADWELL CARVED FEATHERED BRONZE DAMASCUS FIGHTER

David Broadwell Carved Damascus Fighting Knife Bronze Fossil Walrus Ivory One-Of-A-Kind

 

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

We appreciate your support!

Sign up for our Newsletter.

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.

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.

We appreciate your support!

Sign up for our Newsletter.

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.

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.

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 Forged Damascus Sub-Hilt Ivory

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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.

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!

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.

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 customknives@comcast.net or (706) 650-0252.

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.

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.

05
AUG
2018

Larry Chew

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This talented knife maker builds a superior tactical folder. Smooth is an understatement for a flipper opener that requires only minimal effort to open. Rock solid lock up combined with an excellent fit and finish. Larry’s Chew’s tactical folders simply put are among the best value for the money in the market today.  His combination of the voodoo pivot and surreptitious covert system should put one of his double action folders on your short list of must have tactical folders.

Utilization of Zirconium, Lightning Strike carbon fiber and super conductor has shown collectors that Larry Chew can utilize the materials that are in demand today.  You will be hard pressed to find a smoother opening folding knife. And if you do, these knives will come with a price tag of at least double.  If you are looking for an exceptional EDC (every day carry) under $800 be sure to check out Larry’s knives.

 
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
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.

Read

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.

24
JUL
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.

Read

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.

23
JUL
2018

Sobral Knives from Argentina

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Knives from Claudio and Ariel Sobral!

These hand forged custom san mai fighting and Bowie knives just arrived from Argentina.

These talented makers have been featured in Blade and Knives Illustrated over the last couple of months.

Superb craftsmanship!  Click on the photos to see specs…

Sobral Custom San Mai Forged BowieSobral Forged Tactical Bowie Custom Knife San MaiSobral Custom San Mai Fighter Forged Knife

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Continue to check our “Incoming Knives” at the bottom of the HOME page for the latest information.   Yes, you can order any of these custom knives prior to their arrival since there is usually only one and a wait to get another one… Act quickly!

 

 

 

 

17
JUL
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.

15
JUL
2018

Brian Nadeau

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Brian Nadeau is a two time Best Tactical Folder Award Winner at the Blade Show.  He is a fan of Titanium handles. “It is strong, light and can be anodized,” he said as the blade flipped open almost effortlessly and locked into place exactly where it should be.  Quality and value priced is how I would describe his folding knives.  If you are looking for a stylish, lightweight and well-built EDC folder I encourage you to look at Brian Nadeau’s knives.

 

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.

15
JUL
2018

Claudio and Ariel Sobral

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What attracted me to the Sobral (CAS) Knives were the variety of sizes and styles combined with their steel choices.   C.A.S. offers hunters, fighters, sub-hilt fighters and Bowies.  As custom knife makers, Claudio and Ariel Sobral are happy to discuss your idea(s) for a specific design you would like built. Often items are said to have “the look.”  The look is an appropriate description for C.A.S. knives.  They have preference for San Mai technique, which is both aesthetic and functional. The carbon edges show a “hamon like” dark contrast with about 80% of the blade as stainless. From the point of the blade to the pommel of the handle all of their knives have the flow that is an element of “the look.”

If you appreciate a fine big blade then I heartily recommend you look into obtaining a knife from C.A.S.  Be sure to check out the award winning work from Claudio who is now an ABS Journeyman Smith.

 

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.

15
JUL
2018

Tim Steingass

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My favorite aspect of working with Tim Steingass is his versatility and drive for perfection. While building his knives if he is not happy with it, he will throw the knife away and start again, in lieu of finishing it.  His work ethic what drew me to his knives, but his work is the epitome of constant improvement.  Over the last 5 years, I don’t know if I have seen another makers’ work improve as much as Tim’s.

His attention to detail, versatility and incorporation of design elements give the collector so much to choose from. No matter the design, his lines are clean and the flow from the tip of the blade to the end of handle is exceptional.  There are no breaks or distractions as your eyes move from one end of the knife to the other.  See some examples of Tim Steingass 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.

15
JUL
2018

Spencer Clark

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The biggest surprise for me about Spencer Clark was to find out he was only an Apprentice Smith within the ABS.  Apprentice Smiths usually do not incorporate unique design elements early on in their work.  Incorporation of cut outs in the guard and recurve blades were a noticeable separation from the AS standard fare.  I found his departures refreshing.

Spencer’s designs have the flow that most seasoned custom knife collectors appreciate. Too often the guards from new makers are big and chunky.  This can break up the flow that the guard should provide from the blade to the handle. His guards compliment the symmetry of the blade grind and the exceptional ergonomics of his handles.  All these features combine to give the owner a delight for their senses.  Spencer is one of those rare makers whose abilities belie the short time that he has been making knives.

 

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.

15
JUL
2018

Shawn Ellis – Forged In Fire Champion

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Due to the hours required by his full-time job, Shawn had to stop making knives for several years.  Earning his Journeyman Smith stamp for the second time, Shawn’s style has had years to develop.  Consequently, Shawn Ellis‘ work is not the standard fare you would expect from a JS maker.  Shawn uses a wide variety of handle materials to include wood, stag and Ivory.

Another design element of Shawn’s that will catch your eye is his bluing of the hardware (guards and pommels) on the knives.  You will primarily see this combination when using Ivory and Stag.  Combine that with his file worked spacers and ferrules and you have virtually an unlimited selection of handle styles to pick from.  Shawn Ellis is a Forged in Fire Champion!  Be sure to check out the knives from this ABS Journeyman Smith.

 

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.

15
JUL
2018

Steve Randall – Versatile

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Steve Randall is an ABS Master Smith!   Perhaps best known for his Bowies and Fighters, his hunters are superb, as well.   When I think of his work the word “clean” comes to mind.  He is also extremely versatile in both his designs and steel. His versatility is best seen in his steel.  Steve will utilize a variety of carbon steels (1095, 1084, 5160, W-2, etc.)  He also makes and uses San Mai steel.  A San Mai blade would be three pieces of steel.  Steve prefers to use the high carbon steel 1084 for the core.  While either side of the 1084 are two pieces of 410 or 420 stainless steel.

One of my favorites is his Feather Pattern Damascus.  It is called this because of its distinctive pattern that looks like a feather.  Recently, Steve developed what he calls his “Cardiac” Damascus, due to it having the look of an EKG.  At the 2018 Blade Show, Steve introduced his new Sub-Hilt Bowie, one of my favorite knives he has made to date.

You are offered a myriad of options when it comes to his work.  Regardless of your choice, you will be pleased.

 

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.

15
JUL
2018

Wess Barnhill – Multi-Talented

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This multi-talented knife maker has started to make his mark on the custom knife making world.  Excellent handle ergonomics, fit, finish and flow are trademarks of this talented maker.  In 2015 Wess Barnhill won the prestigious George Peck Award for the best knife submitted by a Journeyman Smith Candidate at the Atlanta Blade Show judging.  In addition to making exceptional knives he does both engraving and scrimshaw.

His lines are clean and crisp.  There is no wasted effort on his knives. Every aspect of his knives is done with a purpose.  While having the look of a piece of art; a closer examination shows they are all business.  When held in your hand his knives have that perfect balance that makes them a pleasure to use.  Be sure to check out the Wess Barnhill knives from this ABS Journeyman Smith.

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.

15
JUL
2018

Ben Breda – A Natural

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This Journeyman Smith is one of the best at his level in the ABS.  In 2014, Ben Breda won the prestigious George Peck Award for the best knife submitted by a Journeyman Smith Candidate at the Atlanta Blade Show judging.  There is artistry to his work.  His subtle lines and design elements incorporated into each of his knives immediately catch your eye, moving you to want to handle his knives. Doing so only further increases your desire to own one of these exceptional knives.

His grinds feature the symmetry that gives his blades those crisp clean lines.  The guards provide the transition that continues the flow of the knife from the tip of the point to the end of the handle.  Ben’s knife handles will verify your initial eye test.  His handle ergonomics make the knife feel like it should; an extension of your hand.   Be sure to check out the knives from Ben Breda, this natural ABS Journeyman Smith.

 

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
JUL
2018

Master 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 “Master 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 MS designation meant and why it was important to me.

To become a Master Smith some basic requirements, have to be met.

  • Eligibility: The candidate for MS must be a Journey Smith member for at least one year. At this point, they can take their performance test with an ABS Master Smith; however, they must have been a Journeyman Smith at least 2 years before they can test for MS.
  • Performance Test: MS candidate can only test with a pattern-welded Damascus blade per the test knife specifications. 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 MS candidate to become eligible to test for MS.
    • 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 MS candidate may now test for their MS Stamp (the MS in script you will see on their blades.)

The candidate will submit five knives. At least one of these knives must be an art knife meeting the ABS requirement of a traditional pattern welded Damascus European Quillion type dagger with at least three hundred (300) or more forge welded layers. Please refer to the link at the bottom for the specifics of what is required for the Quillon dagger. The rest of the knives are required to be of different designs and varieties and can be of different steel types to demonstrate the applicant’s ability to make a wide range of classic blades. While not required, a folder with a Damascus blade can be submitted as one of the candidates’ test knives for their MS stamp.

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 custom blades.

As you can see, makers with the MS designation have put a lot of time and effort into becoming a Master Smith.  The knowledge they have gained can be readily seen in their knives.  As with any endeavor some MS 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 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 knives.  In addition to the current work and/or potential, the price the makers charge for their MS-designated custom knives is also very important to me. Once a maker earns the MS stamp, there is no further testing required. Unfortunately, there are several MS makers who are resting on their laurels. Many of these makers would have difficulty earning the MS stamp if they were to test today. Given the prices being asked by some of these makers, it is imperative that the collector know what to look for in an MS maker’s work.  Mistakes on a MS knife should be looked at more critically than on a JS maker’s knife.

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 custom knife makers than some of the MS makers.
  • Position in the market: Where is the maker compared to their competitors in the current market? This is especially true in the MS knife market. Considering there are only, according to the ABS website, 113 active Master Smiths worldwide, understanding each of these maker’s position in the market is the best way to get the best quality knife for your money.
  • 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: Master Smiths should be able to move comfortably between carbon steel and Damascus and all other forms of forged blades. Their fit, finish and flow should be excellent. All should be able to incorporate a vast array of handle materials including Stag and Ivories.
  • 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 custom knife maker communicate in a clear and concise manner.

When you see a custom knife maker with the MS 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 Master 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 Master 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.

09
JUN
2018

BLADE SHOW FINDS

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Blade Show 2018

We always look forward to the Blade Show and what new custom knives we will find. Here are four “great finds” we picked up there that are still available:

Scott MacCaughtry Damascus Bowie

Scott MacCaughtry Damascus Bowie, Twist Pattern, ABS Journeyman Smith

Wess Barnhill Southwest Bowie2

Wess Barnhill Southwest Bowie2 Desert Ironwood, ABS Journeyman Smith

Steve Ryan Tactical Chef Fighter

Steve Ryan, Tactical Chef Knife, Bead Blast, Double hollow ground, double edge

Steve Randall Curvalicious SOLD

Steve Randall Curvalicious Feather Pattern Damascus Fighter, Sambar Stag, ABS Master Smith

 

27
MAY
2018

BLADE UNIVERSITY CLASSES 2018

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BLADE UNIVERSITY

If you are attending the Blade Show, Les will be teaching two classes for Blade University. This will be his 33rd Blade Show and it is always a great time. He hopes to see and meet some of you there.

Forged Fixed Blades; Heir Apparent to Tactical Folders

Thursday 12:30 pm – 2 pm  Room 104

While this class is geared towards knife makers, there will be plenty of good information for collectors.

Attending this course could help knife makers earn thousands of dollars over their career. How? He will teach you how to identify your position in the market. This will allow you to price your knives accordingly. That is, unless you are happy taking knives home after every show? He will also discuss trends and styles you should consider to help your sales. Hope to see you there.

Collecting Custom Knives

Saturday  9:45 am – 10:45 am  Room 109

This course will cover: How to identify good makers. How to get the best bang for your buck. How to determine a fair price for a custom knife. (This is important as most makers guess or ask another makers what their knives should sell for.  Neither method benefits you.)  Additionally, we will discuss the basics of custom knife collecting, potential investment opportunities, working with makers and dealers, deposits, etc.

If you would like to attend any Blade University classes and have not pre-registered already, you may pay for the classes at the show. $25  If you have already pre-registered, thank you!

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 SHOW 2018   ATLANTA, GA
June 1 – June 2
Fri. 2 pm – 7 pm    Cobb Galleria Centre
Sat. 9 am – 6 pm   2450 Galleria Parkway

 

 

 

 

 

 

30
APR
2018

MASTER CRAFTSMAN JIM SISKA

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Jim Siska Knives

We just recently received several fixed blades from Master Craftsman Jim Siska.

I have been working with Jim for 30 years.  I consider his work to be some of the best value for the money in presentation and tactical fixed blades.

The crisp and clean lines of his knives are sure to please even the most discriminating custom knife buyer.   Hopefully, one of the knives currently in inventory will be to your liking allowing you to avoid his multi-year wait.

 

 

04
APR
2018

Hottest Makers/Hottest Knives

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I was interviewed for an article by Steve Shackelford discussing who I felt were the hottest makers and their hottest knife. My responses can be found here or for the full article on page 56 – 63 in the October 2017 issue of Blade Magazine. Below are my responses. The makers should come as no surprise.

My list included four ABS Bladesmiths and one Bowie by each maker on it:

Ben Breda’s in stag; a stag model with a san-mai-constructed blade by Shown McIntyre; Wess Barnhill’s bowie, also in stag; and a feather-Damascus model by Steve Randall.

“Breda’s knife shows why he is consistently included in conversations about the best ABS Journeyman Smiths. His hamons pop, and his Bowie’s Damascus spacers adds just the right touch of class and eye appeal. His handle ergonomics create a seamless fit. The balance of his knife gives it more of a fighter feel than that of a Bowie.”

https://www.robertsonscustomcutlery.com/product/ben-breda-forged-stag-bowie/

“McIntyre’s knife is an excellent example of the flawless technique needed to forge steel in the san-mai-construction method, and is about as good as such blades get. The overall execution featuring perfect balance combined with the fit, finish and flow of Shawn’s bowie leaves no doubt the he is among the best ABS master smiths in the world.”

 https://www.robertsonscustomcutlery.com/product/shawn-mcintyre-forged-damascus-walrus-bowie/

“Big, balanced and beautiful is how I describe Barnhill’s Bowie. It exhibits the excellent execution of a large knife whose balance belies its size. This beast of a Bowie also has some beauty to it. The stag handle is bracketed by contoured spacer of stainless steel and bronze, and a file-worked raised pommel. The artistic touches complement a knife built for serious use.”

https://www.robertsonscustomcutlery.com/product/wess-barnhill-forged-southwest-bowie-knife-2/

“Steve Randall’s Bowie is one of the finest the smith has made and shows Randall’s ABS master smith stamp was well earned and well deserved. The feather -pattern Damascus from the guard to the tip moves this knife to warp speed! The fit and finish is flawless.”

https://www.robertsonscustomcutlery.com/product/steve-randall-forged-ladder-damascus-sub-hilt-bowie/

 

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
FEB
2018

Hottest Knives… Hottest Makers!

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Hottest Knives… Hottest Makers!

Recently, I was interviewed for an article by the Blade Editor titled “Cool Cutters To Covet.” The article starts on page 12 in the February 2018 issue of Blade Magazine.

(While I submitted 5 knives for this article, only three made it due to limited space. These are not in any particular order.)

The first was the Claudio and Ariel Sobral (CAS) Poison:
Blade Length: 10″
Overall Length: 15.5″
Blade Steel: Ladder Pattern Damascus with ferrule
Guard and Pommel: Carved integral guard and sub-hilt with Blued carbon steel.
Handle Material: Amber Stag
Sheath: Custom Leather Sheath by Marcelo Sobral
Price: $3,000.00 (shipped worldwide)

Comment: This talented family continues to impress. In a short time they have developed a signature style; big, bold and striking!

The Second knife was the Russ Andrews Damascus Fighter:
Russ Andrews Ladder Pattern Damascus and Walrus Ivory Fighter
Blade Length: 8″
Overall Length: 13″
Blade Steel: Ladder Pattern Damascus
Guard, ferrule and Pommel: Ladder Pattern Damascus
Handle Material: Ancient Walrus Ivory
Sheath: Custom Leather Sheath with Ostrich inlay by maker
Price: $2,900.00

Comment: Russ’s work is among the most sought after of any Master Smith. The symmetry and execution of his work borders on perfection.

The Third knife was the Josh Fisher Damascus Frame Handle with Ivory Bowie:
Josh Fisher Ladder Pattern Damascus and Walrus Ivory Bowie
Blade Length: 8″
Overall Length: 13″
Blade Steel: Ladder Pattern Damascus
Guard, ferrule and Frame: Ladder Pattern Damascus
Handle Material: Ancient Walrus Ivory
Sheath: Custom Leather Sheath.
Price: $1,550.00

Comment: Stunning execution of a frame handle Damascus Bowie. Arguably, the best on the market today by a Journeyman Smith.

The Fourth knife was a Sub-Hilt Fighter by David Broadwell:
David Broadwell Sub-Hilt Fighter with Koa, Engraving by Ray Cover
Blade Length: 8 1/4″
Overall Length: 13.25″
Blade Steel: CPM 154, single edge with fuller.
Blade Finish: Textured flats and hand rubbed satin finish on the hollow
Guard: 416 Stainless Steel
Handle Material: Feather crotch Koa
Sheath: Custom made leather and Cape Buffalo by NB Designs
Engraving: By Ray Cover.
Price: $2,200.00 for the knife and $800.00 for the engraving.

Comment: The perennial award-winning knives by David continue to impress. Not just the judges at major shows, but his collectors around the world are always eager to see what David is making next.

The Fifth knife was the 8″ Model 2 by Walter Brend:
Walter Brend 8" Model 2 Tactial Knife
Blade Length: 8″
Overall Length: 13″
Blade Steel: D-2
Blade Finish: Satin
Guard Material: Stainless Steel
Handle Material: Black Micarta
Sheath: Custom Leather Sheath or Kydex Lined Cordura nylon sheath.

Comment: The finest tactical fixed blade in the world!  Enough said.

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.

16
OCT
2017

BLADE “How Much to Pay for Forged Knives?”

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The current issue of Blade Magazine, Fall 2017, features my article, How Much To Pay For Forged Knives?” on pages 50 – 56.

I discuss the makers’ position in the market and how it pertains to the price they should be charging for their knives.

In 1994, I created my maker position matrix. This took into account roughly 3,000 makers. Each was put into a category for the type of knife they made. Example; if the maker built fighters, Bowies and hunters, they were put into those categories. Then when I apply my weighted criteria to each maker, it became obvious what makers should be charging for the knives. Not what they wanted to get; not the amount they hoped to get; but the amount they should get based on my weighted criteria through their position in a particular market. Knowing a knifemaker’s position in a particular market helps to simplify the question, “What should this knife cost?”

Price Point
Given there are 184 JS makers in current good standing with the ABS, the competition to sell your knives can be intense or so you would think. The truth is most JS makers do not know their position in their market(s). As such, they don’t know what the price should be for their knives. Too many rely on other makers, often their mentors/competitors to help price their knives. While this may come as a shock to many of you reading this, knifemakers are notorious for not buying knives. Subsequently, they are probably not the best source for current market information. Today, the majority of JS makers are asking too much for their knives. Just to double check my theory, I asked several ABS Master Smiths who I have known for 10+ years what their take was on JS pricing. They agreed that most were asking too much money for their work.

What does this mean for you the collector of forged blades? Sadly, homework. Perhaps creating your own mini-matrix would enlighten you as to what the actual price point should be for makers you are interested in. It isn’t as difficult as it sounds and I can tell you that mine has served me well over the last 23 years.

Matrix Reloaded
To help you get started with your homework, I am going to suggest 5 JS makers you should consider. To keep people from getting their feelings hurt, writing letters to the editor (which you are always welcome to do) or protesting in the streets. The following 5 makers are in this article because I feel they have met certain criteria which will be discussed about each maker. Yes, I work with every one of these makers. Some before they made JS and others after. The 5 knifemakers are in no particular order.

The makers are Scott Gallagher, Ben Breda, Wess Barnhill, Mike Deibert and Josh Fisher.

All are excellent makers and represent “Bang for the Buck” makers in today’s markets.

Check out the full article on newsstands 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.

07
JUL
2017

BLADE MAGAZINE “KNIFE DEPOSITS: Yea, Nay, Maybe”

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In the September 2017 issue of Blade Magazine, pages 60 – 62, you will find my article, KNIFE DEPOSITS: Yea, Nay, Maybe.

Here I discuss my take on deposits. While usually not necessary, there are times you can expect them to be required. Sometimes you can even be expected to pay in full!

On newsstands now!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

22
MAY
2017

Knife Show Etiquette

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In 1986 while living in Clarksville TN, a fellow Lieutenant and knife enthusiast suggested we take the wives to Knoxville TN for the weekend. He explained to me that among other things there was a knife show. I asked him what that was and he replied, like a gun show, except knives. The weekend came and we pointed the car east and headed for Knoxville and this knife show called The Blade Show. Now in my defense the Blade show had just started in 1982 and had just moved to Knoxville TN that year.

Looking back on the events that transpired always make me smile. That fact that my friend and I actually told our wives that we would probably only need a couple of hours at the show. Coupled with we had no idea about what we were about to get into. In my case, how this show would change my life. To this day when I hear someone tell me they are just going to stop by the show for an hour or so. I smile and think to myself “rookie.”

Since 1986 I have only missed one Blade Show. I was chosen to receive an all-expense paid year long trip to South Korea courtesy of Uncle Sam. Twenty-five those years I had a table at the Blade show. Combine all the other shows I have attended over the past 30 years I have come away with some observations that may come in handy when you attend a show.

Knives are sharp!

Generally custom knives are sharper than the factory knives readily available at Wal-Mart and gun shows. I know this to be true as I have handed out more than my fair share of band aids to those who did not show the custom knife the respect it deserves. Each year you will hear tales of those collectors who have met other collectors at the emergency room at the hospital near the Blade show. They were there for stitches to take care of that bite.

I write this to point out what most of you already know, knives can be sharp. What scared me more than anything was that little hand reaching through the group of grown-ups to grab a knife. For those of you who attend shows please make sure you do not allow your children to handle the knives without your supervision. Fortunately, I have never had a child cut at my table, but I’m sure it has happened.

Ask permission to handle a knife

Most of us on the business side of the table are happy to have you handle the knives. I would recommend you ask permission to handle the knife. Even with a sign on the table that reads “please do not handle without permission”, people walk right up and grab the knife. Don’t be that person. People have spent hours creating these knives, give them and their knives the respect they deserve.

The imaginary knife fight!

My tables usually had a variety of large fighters and Bowies. Over the years I have witnessed my share of imaginary knife fights in front of my table. The scenario is as follows, collector picks up a knife, takes a step back then starts swinging the knife. Eventually they stop and look at me. I smile and ask them “did you win.” They give me a nervous smile and set the knife down. The issue becomes if the collector gets carried away and accidently cuts or stabs another person. Nothing wrong with checking the handle ergonomics and balance. But keep the knife fighting to the minimum.

Flippers, twirlers and other knife fighters!

For those who enjoy Balisongs (butterfly knives) and/or practice any variant of martial art that utilizes knives. Do not practice your moves at the table. Given that you are a human are can be prone to mistakes none of us wants to see a knife you are manipulating go flying out of your hand. I have witnessed this happen and the knife landed on the table right on top of several other knives. Congratulations, you just bought a knife and paid to have others repaired by the maker. DO NOT BE THIS PERSON.

Pet Peeves

** The Space!
Most makers will have between 1 and 10 knives on their table which allows plenty of room to replace the knife on the table after you completed your inspection. On dealer’s table, they may have 40 – 60 knives on their table. Which means they are neatly organized in rows. Each knife gets its own space. Now for some reason there are those who pick up the knife and once done instead of putting it back where they picked it up from. Try to force it in between two other knives where there is not enough room. Sometimes scratching one or more knives in the process. If you come upon this scenario look for the opening large enough to put the knife back into.

** The Heavy Knife!
Let’s face it most knives don’t weigh a lot. But you would be amazed at the number of people who cannot control their muscles enough to put the knife gently back on the table. So instead they drop (yes, I said drop) the knife onto the table. If you are one of these people please learn how to handle a knife before attending a show. As there are those who will feel inclined to respond with harsh criticism.

** The Table!
During the time frame of the show the table belongs to the person(s) standing behind it. Do not put your briefcase, backpack, drink cup or other items on it. I actually had an individual put his backpack on top of my knives so he could get a better look at the knives on the table next to me. He seemed surprised when I picked up his backpack and threw it on the floor. I told him if you can’t carry it, leave it in your car. Yes, there are people that ignorant.

Keep the traffic moving!

** Road block
When you are at a busy show often you will run into friends and naturally conversations will occur. Try and be courteous of those around you. Do not block traffic, take the conversation to a less crowded part of the room.

**The 3 way!
I’m referring to those who feel necessary to walk 3 (or more) abreast. The only thing worse than the 3 way is the pond water 3 way…pond water doesn’t move, it just sits there and stagnates. Don’t be pond water, keep it moving.

** Shutter Bug!
Today most of us use the camera on our phone. However, there are those who feel inclined to bring a 35mm to the show. Nothing wrong with that, but don’t expect the show to stop so you can get just the right angle or lighting. Remember, to ask permission. Your photo shoot will possibly keep buyers away from the table.

Basically just be polite and try to remember as excited as you get about a knife or maker or seminar, there is someone else who gets just as excited. There is plenty of room for everyone, although it might not seem like it at times.

10
APR
2017

Knife Maker Deposits: Yes, No, Maybe

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The subject of whether to pay a custom knife maker a deposit or not, comes up on a regular basis. This is discussed in my Custom Knife Buying Guide, as well as, articles I have written for Blade and Knives Illustrated.  What I have learned (sometimes the hard way) over the last 32 years comes down to these categories.

These are my 3 rules for knife maker deposits:

1) If the knife maker is building you a standard model, there is absolutely no reason for a deposit.

2) A partial deposit can be given if you are requesting things such as semi-precious gem stones, precious gem stones or precious metals. You can expect to pay for those in advance. I have recently added a 4th item to the list, Fossil Ivory. Given the prices these days, it is becoming a expensive addition to the knife.

3) Payment in full before the knife is built. 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 will not be able to sell this knife.

What about makers who ask for a deposit? They should be questioned as to why they need it. You can determine if the reason is legitimate (check rules 1-3). These makers generally do not put your deposit into an escrow account, taking it out when the project starts. This money can and will go to a variety of expenses.

Most makers have told me they prefer not to get a deposit. As this then allows the client to “check in” on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many collectors become a nuisance wanting to know about every step of their knife build along the way.

My advice to both makers and collectors is to agree that the maker will contact the collector when the knife is ready to be started. This meaning the knife will be completed within a couple of weeks. This also allows the maker to check and see if the collector still wants the knife. As well, the collector can double check the order (especially if it has been a year or more.) This way, everyone understands what is being built, with what materials and what the cost will be.

Ordering a custom knife should be a pleasurable experience! The level of communication between maker and collector will be enhanced by open and direct communication. 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.”

01
MAR
2017

Secrets of Collecting

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In the May 2017 issue of Blade Magazine my article titled “The Circle Remains Unbroken” discusses the cyclic nature of custom knives and how it can benefit collectors.

As most of you know the tactical folders have been the main attraction in the custom knife market over the past 7 years. After market prices have removed the majority of the collectors who were responsible for driving the market. The knives from the most sought after makers are now the dominion of those with the tens of thousands of dollars to be a viable player in that market. So what is a collector to do?

Collectors, collect and consequently some will move from the in demand well known makers to those makers who are not so well known. Many of these established and newer makers now understand that the days of a folder with a blade and two pieces of Titanium for a handle starting at $1,000.00 are over. Consequently, it will be those makers who build a knife like that in the $500 to $700 range who will gain in popularity. Others are moving to the other side of the cycle, fixed blades.

Today, fixed blades in the 8 – 10” range, both forged and stock removal fixed blades are gaining again in popularity. I have heard a repetitive from collectors who tell me that with these fighters and Bowies they really get a lot for their money. Because of the prices that the tactical folders have brought in the aftermarket an exquisite Feather pattern Damascus blade and Damascus frame handle with Mastodon Ivory like the one in the photo by Steve Randall is now viewed by many collectors as exceptional for the money.

https://www.robertsonscustomcutlery.comsteve-randall-feather-damascus-bowie/

So as you rethink your collection and possibly consider adding some fixed blades or even more fixed blades. Do your homework and look for those makers are substance and not merely hype.

 

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.

17
FEB
2017

Mount Rushmore of Contemporary Knifemakers

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In the May 2017 issue of Blade Magazine, myself and eleven other veteran industry observers were asked to pick top four makers from 2000-2017. These four makers are considered the Mount Rushmore of Contemporary Knifemakers. Two of my top picks made it into the mountainous structure, and two just missed the cut. These are in no particular order. Here are the knife makers I picked for the Mount Rushmore of Knifemakers Part II:

Michael Walker: Michael Walker is among the best to ever make a folding knife. He is best known for reintroducing the liner lock to the folder world. This contribution alone should be enough to put him on the “new” Mount Rushmore.

Bob Terzuola: Bob was one of the original tactical folder makers in the early 1990’s.  In fact he literally wrote the book on it with the release of his Tactical Folding Knife: A study of the Anatomy and Contrition of the Liner-Locked Folder in 2000.   The consummate professional knife maker he can build a fixed blade or folder with equal expertise. Purchase one of Bob Terzuola’s knives here: Bob Terzuola Tactical Fighter

RJ Martin: One word sums up RJ Martin’s work: precision. He is one of those rare breeds of makers who can build both fixed blades and folder with equal skill. There are few true “double threats” in custom knife making today.  Purchase one of RJ Martin’s knives here: RJ Martin Vanguard Odyssey.

Jerry Fisk: In addition to being an ABS master smith, Jerry Fisk is the only custom knife maker to have obtained National Living Treasure status in the USA. Jerry has been a fixture in custom knives for the past 30 years and his work is always in demand.

 

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.

12
FEB
2017

See You @ The Arkansas Show

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The Arkansas Knife Show

Saturday, February 17
Little Rock, AR
Statehouse Convention Center
101 E. Markham St.
Little Rock, Arkansas
Sat. 9am-6pm

10
FEB
2017

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT!

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Many times, customers are disappointed when new knives arrive and are sold before they make it to the website. For that reason, we are introducing, “In Case You Missed It.” This page will feature these knives with the knife photo and link to the specs. It will allow you to place a future order for any of these knives and more will be added as they come in “pre-sold.” Check back frequently…

 (Please click on the photos below to take you to the individual knife specs.)  

Barnhill-Wess-Presentation-Bowie
Wess Barnhill Southwest Bowie

Broadwell-BAF-Fighter
David-Broadwell-Bav-Fighter

Clark-Spencer-Brute-Bowie-500-VERT
Spencer Clark Brute Bowie (right)

Breda-Ben-Presentation-Bowie-400V
Ben Breda Bowie

steingass-di-incursion-pres-fighter
Tim Steingass Incursion Fighter

Clark-Spencer-Brute-Bowie-500-VERT
Spencer Clark Special Edition Brute XL Sub-Hilt Bowie

Lynch-Damascus-Sub-hilt-Bowie
Tad Lynch Damascus Bowie

09
FEB
2017

Les’ Makers to Watch 2017 – Pt.3

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Knives Illustrated’s March/April issue features an article I wrote titled “10 At The Top”. This article showcases the top 10 makers to watch this year. Over the past couple of weeks, I have discussed the makers to watch and given you the opportunity to own knives from these top 10 makers. Here are the final three makers:

Number 5: Mike Deibert
Best known for his designs and execution, these designs feature that rare combination of functionality and aesthetics.

Pre-order the knife from the article:
https://www.robertsonscustomcutlery.com/mike-deibert-feather-damascus-fighter/

Number 7: Tad Lynch
What attracted me to his knives was upon immediately picking up the knife, you wanted to use it! The weight and balance belie the size of his knives. These are knives that can be used all day without fatigue. His Hamons (temper lines) on his W-2 are stunning as are his Damascus blades.

Own the knife from the article:
https://www.robertsonscustomcutlery.com/tim-steingass-wildlands-bowie/

06
FEB
2017

Les’ Makers to Watch in 2017 – Part 2

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Knives Illustrated’s March/April issue features an article I wrote titled “10 At The Top”. This article showcases the top 10 makers to watch this year. As an on-going blog post, I will not only discuss the makers to watch, but also give you the opportunity to own knives from these top 10 makers.

Number 3: Ben Breda
His subtle lines and design elements incorporated into each of his knives immediately catch your eye. Moving you to want to handle his knives; doing so only further increases your desire to own one of these exceptional knives.

Pre-order the knife from the article:
https://www.robertsonscustomcutlery.comben-breda-bowie/

Number 1: Wess Barnhill
There is no wasted effort on his knives. Every aspect of his knives is done with a purpose. While having the look of a piece of art; a closer examination shows they are all business.

Pre-order the knife from the article:
https://www.robertsonscustomcutlery.comwess-barnhill-southwest-bowie/

Number 4: Steve Randall
When I think of his work the word clean comes to mind. He is extremely versatile in both his steels and his designs.

Pre-order the knife from the article:
https://www.robertsonscustomcutlery.comsteve-randall-san-mai-bowie/

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