Shop Tour

The following pics show some of the tools in my shop, which isn't big by any means. I do most of my work in a small partitioned area of my basement.  

I built my 2X72 grinder from Tracy Mickley's NWG plans a couple years ago. It was definitely a huge step up from what I first started with; a Ryobi 4x36 woodworking sander.  My other important tools are my drill press, converted porta-bandsaw and buffer. I also do my own heat treating, so my Evenheat kiln and rockwell tester are essential.

 

Methods

-My blades are created using the stock removal method. I do all of my own heat treating in house using my Evenheat kiln and rockwell test all of my blades. I have conducted thorough research and physical testing to establish my heat treating procedures.

 

-An important aspect of knifemaking, that I believe is sometimes overlooked, is edge geometry. I flat grind all of my blades and have a tendency to grind on the thinner side. I believe a thinner edge cuts much more effectively and takes a better edge. A thick edge can seem cumbersome.  

 

-There are many handle materials out there today. I have used many including mammoth ivory, stabilized & unstabilized woods, camel bone, Micarta and G10. From a durability standpoint, Micarta and G10 are just about impossible to beat. Natural materials, inlcuding stabilized woods, can "move" with environmental changes. I do my best to make sure the materials are dry before using them and also seal them before leaving the shop. I highly recommend using Danish Oil, Tru Oil, floor wax, etc. once in a while to keep them sealed.

 

-All of my sheaths are custom made for every knife I produce. I try to claim sole authorship in my knifemaking practices, including the leather work, heat treating and even making my own mosaic pins. To some it doesn't mean much. For me, I have always liked the feeling of doing it myself.

 

-I do not offer every steel known to man. I have chosen steels that I know, have tested and feel produce a great blade.

 

  • CPM154- This is the stainless steel of choice for me. When getting into stainless, I worked with a couple like ATS-34 and 440C, but chose CPM 154. It has similar properties to ATS-34, and I can't say that it is better, but it being an American steel was the deciding factor. I am impressed with its performance in the field. On occasion, I use 440C due to its size offerings.

 

  • O-1- When I first started making my own blades, O-1 is what I used. It performs very well, but just like any carbon/tool steel, you have to take care of it in terms of rusting. Some people like Ford, others Chevy. Some like stainless, others carbon.

 

  • Damascus- I met Steve Rollert at a PKA Knife Show demonstration a couple years ago. He convinced me to visit his shop one day. He guided me in learning the art of creating pattern welded steel using 1095 and 15N20. I don't get the opportunity to make Damascus very often, so the number of blades I make is limited. I have also used Damasteel on occasion, which is a stainless powdered metal version of Damascus. It produces a very nice blade.