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30
OCT
2022

About Knifemaker Jacek Hnatow

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Jacek has been making knives for eight years in his home country of Poland. Jacek’s specialties are Survival and Bushcraft Knives. As an avid outdoorsman and Bushcrafter, he tests his knives in multiple environments. He started and is the moderator of the Bushcraft and Survival Knives page on Facebook. I have found this page to be an excellent resource for European custom knife makers. Welcome Hnatow knives to RCC!

30
OCT
2022

Bushcraft Knife

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What Is a Bushcraft Knife? Bushcraft knives are often considered more for all-around general purposes than survival knives. Designed to handle various outdoor tasks like building a shelter, starting a fire with a Ferro rod, batoning (splitting wood with a knife and mallet or a stick used as a hammer, etc.) Blade lengths are generally between 3 and 6 inches. As they may be required to perform various tasks, some need the blade to be very strong, so it is best to have a full tang. Depending on the situation, the blade length, steel, and handle materials are all subject to interpretation. As this is not a survival knife per se, you can pick the configuration that best suits your intended environment.

What’s the difference between bushcraft and survival?
Simply put, survival methods are about unexpected emergency situations, keeping yourself alive, and getting back to the safety of civilization. Bushcraft is about using nature to sustain yourself for protracted periods in the wild, often voluntarily.

Bushcraft skills provide for the fundamental physiological necessities for human life: food (through foraging, tracking, hunting, trapping, and fishing), water sourcing and purification, shelter-building, and fine craft. These may be supplemented with expertise in twine-making, knots and lashings, wood-carving, camp craft, medicine/health, natural navigation, and tool and weapon making.

28
OCT
2022

Knifemaker Petr Dohnal

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Petr has been making custom knives full-time in his home country of the Czech Republic since 2007. He primarily makes hunters, Bushcraft, and camp knives while utilizing a variety of steels, such as Elmax, M390, Vanadis 8, K390, and Damascus. As you can tell by the type of steel he uses, many of the knives are purpose-built for specific environments or tasks. Take a look at Dohnal Knives on RCC!

24
SEP
2022

Knife Shows – Make the Most of Your Time and Money

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Knife Shows: Make the Most of Your Time and Money

By Les Robertson

 

There are numerous custom knife shows across America. There are big shows like the Atlanta Blade Show and many smaller regional shows. They all have one thing in common, custom knives. Custom knife makers bring knives featuring different styles, materials, and prices. Whether the show is small or big, you can give yourself an advantage by researching the makers before you attend the show. 

 

Pre-Show:

Today even smaller shows have a website or a social media page providing you with an exhibitor list. Often there is a link to the maker’s website or social media page. Utilizing this list, you will know which makers will attend and possibly which knives they plan to bring. In addition, you can contact the maker and ask questions about their knives before the show. Doing so can help you decide if you are interested in this maker’s work. While this strategy works for smaller shows, I find it essential for larger knife shows. 

 

Who, where, and what:

The exhibitor list will help you identify who will be at the show. Most show websites will also give you their location in the knife show. I go through the exhibitor list and create my list of which makers I want to see. Clicking on the website next to their name allows me more time to look at their work. What I learn about the maker and their knives may move them up or down on my priority list. 

 

There will be some makers that may not be familiar to you. Clicking on their website will introduce you to the maker and their work. You are possibly adding to the list of makers whose work you would like to see. Or removing makers from your list as you have no interest in their style of knives.

 

Possibly as important as who; where will keep you from wandering the show looking for a particular maker. Once you have identified whose knives you want to see, you can list where these makers are in the front and combine this with your list of who you want to see. It can save you hours of wandering the show. 

 

What about the knives? It is the main reason you are at the custom knife show. Knowing what the makers are bringing and hoping to finish for the show is beneficial. This will allow you to move the maker up or down your priority list.  

 

Often makers will post what they plan on bringing to the show on social media and their website. If there is a maker you are particularly interested in, I highly recommend you seek out photos of the knives they will be bringing to Blade. You can locate many of the knives the makers intend to bring on the more popular social media sites. I believe you will find that it is to your benefit. On these social media sites, pricing may be missing. There is nothing wrong with asking the maker the price of the knife. 

 

Time and Money:

Although a show like the Blade show is three days long. You will be amazed at how quickly the time slips away. The same can be said for your money, as that will move quickly from one hand to another. To help you with time and money, I suggest you find pricing before the show from the makers that interests you. Unfortunately, too many makers are guessing at their prices or asking well-intentioned fellow makers for pricing guidance. These pricing methods do not benefit you as a collector. However, doing so may help you prioritize the makers on your list. 

 

Pricing:

Several factors can go into pricing. Doing research ahead of time can give you an insight into a particular market sector and that maker’s position in it. Research can help you to develop a sense of fair pricing for custom knives with certain materials. Having this information can save you time and money. It allows you to focus on makers who provide you with the best price and the potential for your new knife to hold its value. 

 

Opportunities Abound:

Custom knife shows offer opportunities to handle knives from past, present, and future legends. You can also meet makers who reside outside the United States. Whose work you would most likely not have a chance to handle. Please take the opportunity to meet the maker and handle their knives; you don’t usually get the opportunity to do so. It is a great learning tool to see how makers worldwide make their knives. 

 

If you plan to take advantage of the opportunity to acquire a

knife through a lottery. Be sure to know where and what time the lottery is. Generally, a ticket or one-half of a playing card must be in the lottery. Be sure to get there early enough to secure one of these. 

 

A Few More Tips:

Check the exhibitor list before the show opens and plan who you want to see. Have a pen and something to write on. It would help if you planned to take photos of the knives that interest you. This information could help with decision-making during and after the show. Have a map, so you know how to find the maker’s location. Then, get the knife or knife you want. I found doing this increases the enjoyment and decreases the stress of the show. 

 

Learn about us.

 

 

19
SEP
2022

What is San Mai Steel?

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San Mai steel, much like Damascus steel, is incredibly durable, even though forged and cut into blades. In addition, the cutting power, particularly of San Mai steel, is exceptional. The process, however, of making this type of steel is wholly different. The unique combination of the core of high carbon steel or Damascus and stainless steel is why it has such unique characteristics and looks.

San Mai steel originates from Japan. The Japanese term San Mai means three layers. And that’s the most accurate description because these blades consist of a center core made using hardened steel and two outer layers or edges made with more pliable, milder steel.

This forging method includes the best of both worlds – carbon steel and stainless steel. The carbon steel in the center creates a sharp edge for cutting and slicing. The stainless steel layers that surround the core provide excellent shock resistance—at the same time, preventing the carbon steel from being damaged. This combination of various elements is responsible for the unique attributes and legendary popularity of blades constructed of San Mai steel.

08
JUL
2022

Journeyman Smith – What You Should Know

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Journeyman Smith – What You Should Know

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

In the later 1980s, I was introduced to forged blades. What drew my attention were the custom Damascus knives made by some of the ABS Master Smiths.  The top makers were asking $100 an inch (including paying for the tang) for their knives, handle material, and a sheath.  For example, Master Smiths would routinely price a  10″ Bowie with a 5″ handle at $1600 – $1800 (depending on handle material.) Remember, this was the 1988 price!

Looking for a less expensive forged knife option led me to carbon steel knives. Not knowing what I was looking for, I became an ABS Associate Member in 1988.  Then I started to be educated on what the Journeyman Smith designation meant and why it was important to me.

Requirements for the performance test to become a Journeyman Smith (JS):

  1. Eligibility: The candidate for JS must be an Apprentice Smith member for at least two years. At this point, they can take their performance test with an ABS Master Smith.  However, they must have been an Apprentice Smith for at least three years before they can test for JS.
  2. Performance Test: The JS candidate can only test with carbon steel blades. There are guidelines for the knife to be used. This test is a 4-part event. The JS candidate must pass all four parts of this test to become eligible to test for JS.
    1. Rope Cutting: This aims to test the edge geometry and sharpness.
    2. Wood Chopping: Is required to demonstrate the edges’ toughness. A construction grade 2X4 is used for this test.
    3. Shaving Hair: This is to demonstrate the edge retention of the blade.
    4. Bending: Is done to show the applicant can heat treat a knife with a soft spine and hard edge. The differential heat treatment allows the blade to bend and not break. This type of heat treat could be an advantage on a hard-use knife.

 

Having met the time and performance test requirements, the JS candidate may now test for their JS Stamp (the JS in script you will see on their blades.)

The candidate will submit five knives with carbon steel blades for judging.  This testing occurs at the Blade Show and several other locations during the year.

Makers will be awarded the JS stamp and certificate upon passing the judging portion of the requirements.  For many, the next step is to become a Master Smith.

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

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

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

At this point, I have developed a pretty good eye for quality work at all three levels: AS, JS, and MS custom knives.  Both their current work, potential, and the price the makers charge for their knives are also essential to me. Too many JS makers are asking for too much money for their work.

What I look for is:

  1. Quality: Their fit, finish, and flow are commensurate with the rating in the ABS and their time-making knives.  Example: Several JS makers are better knife makers than some MS makers.
  2. Position in the market: What is the makers’ current position in the custom knife market sector compared to the competitors?
  3. Price: This should be influenced by #2. Additionally, the materials used, the demand for their work, 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.
  4. Improving Skill Set: Are JS makers improving their fit, finish and flow? Are they moving towards making Damascus, San Mai, blades with Hamons, and the materials used? Are they incorporating Stag, Premium woods, and Ivories as part of their handle material(s) options?
  5. Communication: Do they answer emails or return phone calls promptly? Do they make sure (to the best of their abilities) you are receiving the knife you want?  Point: Communication is a two-way street.  Both the customer and maker must communicate clearly and concisely.

When you see a knife maker with the JS designation on my website, you can be sure I have vetted them.  Over thirty-five years, I have developed the skills on what to look for in all aspects of the knife.  As a result, I feel I am working with some of the best Journeyman Smiths in the world. I would encourage you to look at their knives on my website and continually develop your knowledge of forged blades.

For additional information on what it takes to become a Journeyman Smith, I would recommend you follow this link the ABS website: http://www.americanbladesmith.com/index.php?section=pages&id=172

 

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

 

29
APR
2022

What Defines the Best Custom Utility Hunting Knife? Part 2

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Guards

For the most part, integral guards are utilized as a quicker, less expensive way to make knives. Most are simply squared off to give the illusion that they are somehow protecting your index finger/hand. I learned the hard way that such a guard is not meant for hard work. If you are going to use a knife with this type of guard, wear a glove.

Ben Breda Best Utility Hunter Blade Show 2019 Blackwood

Ben Breda won Best Utility Hunter at Blade Show 2019 for his model (photo above) in a 4-inch blade of W2 tool steel with Hamon. The handle is sculpted African blackwood with a bronze “S” collar and the blade is stainless steel. The knife comes with a leather sheath by Breda. Overall length: 8.75″ Ben’s hunter price for a similar knife is $575.00. (SharpByCoop image)

Most custom utility hunters have a single guard with some amount of curve built in to give you a better handle ergonomic. Additionally, it will provide some protection for your index finger/hand. The primary metals used for such guards are brass, nickel silver, and stainless steel. While brass is a favorite among factories and new custom makers, the biggest problem is it is soft.  It can be easily nicked or cut, making it uncomfortable to hold. Stainless steel guards provide the best protection and the least amount of maintenance for your knife.

Handle Material

If you are looking for a category of custom knives to collect or use that have diverse handle materials, utility hunting knives lead the way. Synthetics, wood, ivory, bone, antler, mother-of-pearl, and others—you name it, utility hunters have it.

Malosh Custom Elk Hunting Knife

Mike Malosh opts for an elk antler (above photo) with black and maroon Micarta® and stainless steel spacers for the handle of his utility hunter. The 6-inch blade is a W2 tool steel and the guard is stainless steel. Overall length: 10.75″ The knife comes with a leather sheath by Malosh. Mike’s price for a similar hunter is $390.00. (Impress by design image)

When many outdoorsmen dress their knives to impress, they want stag. Unfortunately, stag is experiencing two things simultaneously, and neither is good. Because of lack of supply, the quality is going down and the price is going up to the point that the ancient ivories are now becoming an alternative. After talking with knifemaker Mike Malosh at Blade Show 2021, I have started to order some hunting knives with elk. While not as popular as Sambar Stag, it is a great handle material and has a nice look.

My experience in the field has made me a true believer in synthetic handle materials. The two most popular are Micarta® and G-10. Canvas Micarta is my personal favorite. As the name implies, there are bits of canvas included when the Micarta is made. This gives the handle a little more grip when wet. Westinghouse Micarta is gaining in popularity. Often it’s referred to as “vintage or antique” due to the fact most of it was made before 1960.

Carbon fiber is five times stronger than steel, twice as stiff, and lighter in weight. This gave rise to numerous commercial applications, eventually finding its way into the custom knife market. Initially used by custom makers for scales on folders, you can now find them using it for fixed blade handles, too.

The advantage of synthetics over natural handle materials is synthetics don’t shrink and, for the most part, are impervious to the elements. That said, natural handle materials can dress up a knife.

Sage Advice

The custom utility hunting knife will be a workhorse in the field. Consider the factors I have outlined before you maker or buy one. What will you primarily use it for? What size handle is best for your hand? Will you be able to do the maintenance required for the blade steel? Can you sharpen the knife in the field and, if not, will you be able to practice how to do so before you get there?
I prefer a 5-inch blade as my experience has taught me that a big blade can do little knife chores, but not the other way around. As my 7th-grade shop teacher always said, “Use the right tool for the job.” Sage advice!

19
OCT
2021

Features of the Top Custom Utility Hunters

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Blade Magazine October 2021 RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB by Les Robertson pgs. 54-57

The hunting utility knife is a workhorse in the field.  Consider these factors before you purchase your knife.  What will the knife be primarily used for?  What size handle is best for your hand?  Will you be able to do the required maintenance for the knife’s steel?  Can you sharpen your knife in the field?  If not, practice before you get there.

I prefer a 5″ blade as my experience has taught me that a big blade can do little knife chores, but not the other way around.  As my 7th-grade shop teacher always said, “Use the right tool for the job,” sage advice. 

“Ideal size for a hunting utility knife,” you ask.  Having judged this category at the Blade show for over two decades, I can tell you there is no one ideal size.  That said, most of the winners feature a blade between 3  7/8″ and 5″.  For the makers reading this, please do not submit your 10″ bowie or 2″ miniature in this category for judging.  

Jan Hafinec with forged double hamon 5″ blade

In addition to dimensions, the importance of handle ergonomics cannot be overstated.  Most handles will feature some kind of contouring and generally will be between 4 ½” and 5″ long. 

Today, diversity is the word.  There are numerous steels and handle materials to choose from.  Once again, consider what the knife is going to be used for then pick the steel and/or handle material accordingly.  You will find that a well-thought-out hunting knife will become an all-around camp knife, as well.

Mike Malosh 6″ blade, Elk antler handle

25
JUN
2021

Damascus Bowie Knife Defined

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(cont. from Damascus Bowies category page)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25
JUN
2021

Damascus Fixed Blades Defined

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(cont. from Damascus Fixed Blades category page)

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

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

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

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

 

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

25
JUN
2021

Slip Joint and Multi-Blade Folding Knife Defined

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

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

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

Walk

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

Talk

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

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

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

 

 

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

25
JUN
2021

Hunters and Skinners Defined

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(cont. from Hunter and Skinner category page)

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

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

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

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

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

25
JUN
2021

Presentation Fixed Blade Defined

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(cont. from Presentation Fixed Blade category page)

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

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

 

 

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

24
JUN
2021

Damascus Hunter Defined

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(cont. from Damascus Hunters category page)

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

23
JUN
2021

Damascus Folding Knife Defined

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(cont. from Damascus Folders category page)

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

20
JUN
2021

Tactical Folding Knife Defined

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(cont. from Tactical Folder category page)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20
JUN
2021

Tactical Fixed Blade Defined

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(cont. from Tactical Fixed Blade category page)

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

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

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

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

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

25
FEB
2021

Bowie Knife Defined

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(cont. from Bowies category page)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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