I primarily use simple high carbon steels, 1095 and 52100. Both produce very durable tools that take and hold a keen edge that is relatively easy to reproduce in the field. These steels are less expensive which allows me to make you a high quality blade at a lower cost. I’m of the opinion that with proper care most people do not need the high end stainless steels currently pushed as the end all be all in the industry. That said, I also work with those steels, AEB-L and s35vn primarily. They are proven performers and add corrosion resistance to the afore mentioned high carbon varieties. Because I do my own heat treat, I will happily make you anything you like from any steel you like.
From simplicity and performance standpoint, I am a big fan of the cord wrap. I have developed my own system and it is the least expensive option. The steel quality is the same regardless of handle selection. Sadly the industry has cast a “cheapness” pallor on the cord wrapped handle that I’ve had trouble overcoming. Because of this issue, I offer handles in pretty much any material you can imagine. I prefer G10 for my fixed handles because of its variety and virtually indestructible quality. I also use Kirinite and Hardwoods. Let me know what you want. I keep a large variety of materials on hand and try to keep finished blanks in all my production models, so I can keep turnaround for a custom handle relatively short.
I believe the best answer to this question is 2 parts.
- If it is a daily carry/use blade, simply use it and enjoy, avoid sheathing it wet.
- If it is a seasonal blade or seldom used like a hatchet or large pack knife, I recommend a heavy coat of oil prior to storage. Any oil will work, including kitchen oils or gun oils. Or you can warm the blade and apply bees wax prior to storage. I recommend this for all steels including stainless.
Any common method will do the job. With practice comes proficiency. Lansky and similar type sharpening systems take the guess work out and offer great repeatability. I hand sharpen on a slack belt, creating a convex edge profile which I finish by polishing on a leather wheel with red rouge polishing compound. The Work Sharp by Ken Onion can replicate this with practice. Finally, I will happily renew your production edge for the cost of shipping both ways. Email me to set this up.
With proper care and maintenance, any SH9 Edge Works tool should last multiple lifetimes. As with sharpening, I will refurbish anything I make for the cost of shipping both ways.
This is a highly subjective question. It depends primarily on the use/abuse to which the blade is subjected. Under normal use conditions, you should expect anything I make to do as well or better than any similarly designed tool.
YES! Custom knives is the primary reason I started making knives. I went to the Shot Show in Vegas in ’14. I had made a couple of knives at that point and had ideas for more but felt that my skill wasn’t up to the task of some of my designs. As I wandered through miles of booth at Shot, I met several “custom” knife makers, few of which were willing to take on making one of my designs. The ones that were wanted a small fortune for the undertaking. I decided then that I wanted to offer legitimate custom knife making at a reasonable cost. I have my “production” knives to help pay the bills and offer quick order fill, but my best days in the shop are consumed by making your custom blade a reality.
First the difference between the two. Simply put, forging is the process of heating and beating a piece of steel into the shape of the tool you want and generally includes some grinding to finish. Stock removal is taking a piece of steel and systematically moving all the material that is not the tool you want. Like Michelangelo’s David, I simply remove everything that isn’t the end tool. Both methods require a quench and temper cycle (heat treat) following the shaping process. This step is still the most crucial in ensuring a quality tool from the selected steel.
To date, most of my blades have been shaped using the stock removal process. I am very interested in the forging process and have made a few blades this way. As I continue to learn and grow as a knife maker, I will make more blades in a forge.