The majority of the knives I make are shaped using the stock removal method but in the past I’ve forged blades from springs ect. I make all parts of my knives in house and do my own heat treatment and cryogenic treatments. Most of my handle materials are sourced locally and kiln dried by Daniel Gill a bespoke furniture maker also based in Athenry. Rivets/pins will be stainless or nickle silver. All blades are freehand ground and shaped. The same goes for handle materials. No two knives I make will ever be exactly the same even if I wanted them to be and I don’t unless the knives are part of a set in which case I will do my best. I mostly use natural handle materials so obviously these will be unique which to me is the essence of handmade wares.

The steels I prefer to use are 01 tool steel, D2 tool steel and 154 cm

01

01 Tool steel is a high carbon steel that is oil hardened and tempered. It provides a refined edge that is easily sharpened in the field. 01 is not a modern exotic steel, it’s the kind of steel your grandfathers knife would have been made from. Properly cared for its an excellent knife material and if it was good enough for your grandfather well guess what! It will likely do what you need also!

D2

D2 is a tool steel designed for use in environments which are highly abrasive where extremely high resistance to wear is required. It is an air hardened steel and I've found it benefits from cryogenic treatment. D2 is more expensive and harder to source then 01 tool steel but it offers enhanced edge holding capabilities and a degree of rust resistance but it still needs to be cared for properly in service and storage. For those who’s knives see extreme service or need extra edge retention this is the steel I would recommend. It makes a superb blade.

154cm

154cm is a variety of stainless steel. It’s not the same as the cheap stainless you regularly see on a lot of lower end production knives. I believe the metal was first developed for bearings in semi corrosive environment’s but has now become a favourite with many top end knife makers. 154 cm is rust resistant and provides more protection in the field than the above tool steels but it is not rust proof and still requires sensible care and maintenance but hey if you’re looking for a handmade knife in the first place I suspect I don’t have to mention this! I would say this steel is between 01 and D2 for edge retention but 01 is still easier to sharpen. You pay your money you make your choice. I don’t make knives from bad steel so its whatever suits your requirements.  

 

Handle Materials/Scales

I will endeavour to use whatever material the customer requires within reason. I like native hardwoods and try to use the natural beauty of the wood and let the handle tell its own story. I can use bone and imported hardwoods like mahogany, ebony and African blackwood. Let us know your requirements and we will see what we can do for you. Scales and handles will be riveted/pinned and slow setting epoxy glued. I use the glue to seal the joint rather than transmit the loads encountered during service. This is the rivets/pins job.

 

Grinds

Blade grinds will be either flat ground or hollow ground depending on requirements and will be performed freehand on a 2” belt grinder I designed and made specifically for this purpose. Its variable speed and correctly balanced and I use 3m cubitron abrasive belts which aren’t cheap but provide better cuts and impart less heat into the steel.

Making the grinder

Below are two examples of flat ground folders I've made

Below are some examples of hollow ground blades I've made

 

 

Nail pulls

Nail pulls will be cut on my milling machine or forged as required.

 

Bolsters and end caps

Bolsters will be of the silver soldered variety and can be brush finished or polished.

 

Folding knife pivots

All folding knives will be fitted aluminium bronze bushings to improve walk and talk and provide many years of service.    

 

Heat treatment furnace

I use a highly controllable and accurate furnace with the option to inert the atmosphere during process. D2 and 154cm will also be wrapped in tool wrap for hardening to prevent any oxidation and decarburisation of the metal, All blades will be approximately 70% ground prior to heat treatment to better prevent distortion and decarb.

 

Cryogenic treatment

I keep my own liquid nitrogen in house and carry out all process myself in batches and keep a test piece of each batch.