Dirty Hands…

I often get asked, among other things, ”why are your hands so dirty?” This question often makes me smile. For the grime on my hands, stands for the work I am passionate about, and the time I have spent doing it. Making knives is a wonderful and challenging ”job” and I certainly enjoy doing it, and getting my hands dirty in the process.

Have a good day.

fit up
My dirty hands in my dirty shop, holding a knife in progress.

Let’s get this party started…

So, I am about ready to start doing some work on this ”site” and showing my knives, talking about them, and how to purchase. First off, I am treating this as a site, even though the URL is technically a blog. With that settled, I would like to give you some direction. I have got a few pages already up here, and will have more, with more content to my current pages. First I have ”All about Mount Knives” It’s the page where I try to cover most of the general info about my business in one shot. Secondly I have my gallery, a place for me to show pictures of knives I have made. Often I will ask customers to refer to my gallery and find the materials/style/finishes, they like best, then make the knife loosely based on that. I am by no means restricted to remake my designs, and actually dislike making the same knife more than once.
Next we have the ”how to buy” page. Here I try to give clear instructions on the ordering process.
I also have a page on ”maintenance”, though it is usually not needed often, or regularly, I like to talk about how to keep your knives in good condition. I also include both of the care sheets that I send with knives to their new homes.

Thank you!

Cooking Knives

Today I thought I would do a little post on most of the cooking knives I have made and talk a little bit about that angle of my knife making.

MM Kitchen paring
First we have my most requested knife. My standard paring. The knife featured has a curly maple and bocote handle with a bamboo laminate spacer. I love to make and use paring knives, a paring knife, when made right and fully sharp, can be used for a huge variety of tasks.

slender slicer
Next size up is my Kitchen utility. This knife is not a common order, but is really great to have around in the kitchen. This particular knife has a bloodwood handle and a hand cast and forged copper ”splash” ferrule. The ferrule adds a good transition from the handle to the blade, while not distracting attention from the overall piece.

I do not have any good pictures of my chef’s knives. When I do I will upload them.

a few words on food patina;  I recently got a call from one of the owners of one of my paring knives, the first thing they said is ”I am following all the washing instructions, but my blade is turning black!” Now first, black is not the most common patina color, usually it is yellow, purple and blue (which are quite beautiful to the trained eye). I was able to explain that the color on her blade was the patina, coloration on the blade by acid reaction with food. As a patina grows, so does the knife’s resistance to further patina and rust. The more acidic the food, the stronger the patina, some foods leave identifiable patinas, such as meats, they usually leave a streaked kind of patina. foods such as pineapple carrots and strawberries usually leave yellow patina. I personally like blue patina. The one drawback of patina is the constant question by friends asking ”what is that stuff on the blade!?” Some people instantly assume that it is from some sort of inability by the maker, or even the owner of the knife. But patina is a natural occurrence on kitchen blades made of high carbon steel. Once you get used to it, patina is quite attractive and interesting to look at, rather than a blank, bright silver blade.

Ordering a kitchen knife. Ordering a fully customized kitchen knife is an experience in itself. You will learn a lot about knives, steel, wood, even cooking. There are things I do not do on cooking knives. I do not do any finger grips, guards, cheap Chinese remakes or scandi grinds. Don’t limit yourself to a given design when ordering your knife. There are guidelines for making a given type of cooking knife, but there are no real  rules as long as they do not affect the performance and look of the knife. Cooking knives are among the most pricey knives I make, but the knife is still customizable based on your price range.
I personally like to make personal cooking knives as classy and attractive as possible, the reason being that this knife is a reflection of you, you helped design it, your money made it and your patina reflects what you like to cut. So for an order I like to present materials and design that are at the top of the price range, maybe even above. This is just my natural inclination since I want to make the piece as nice as possible. One of my pet peeves is spending a lot of time making a cheep looking knife.

Kitchen knife heat treatment. Next to bush crafting knives, kitchen knives have some demanding characteristics. I heat treat all my knives based on the use. My kitchen knives are usually the hardest knives I make going up to HRC 63. Heat treatment is the most important part in the making of the blade, and can be done simply, or can be ramped up to increase the knife’s abilities. My standard heat treatment method is as follows: forge at low heats toward the end of the forging process to keep and make grain size small. (offers strength) normalize three times after forging to make grain smaller (again gives strength to the blade). Anneal once, eases stress on the blade. after grinding I normalize once (ensures blade will be hard throughout, with the same grain structure), then quench in the proper oil (makes blade hard). I then temper the blade for three one hour cycles at the proper temperature (softens blade slightly and reduces stress).

For a high performance knife I heat treat as follows, forge at low temperatures towards the end, normalize three times and aneal, after grinding I normalize three times, each at a slightly lower temperature. then I quench the blade three times, deferentially temper the spine, and temper the whole blade at a slightly lower temperature than the previous heat treatment method proposed. This second heat treatment provides a very hard knife that is still fairly strong. A knife treated this way will stay sharp for a long time, and not be difficult to sharpen.

Cooking knives are the soul of the chef, they reflect who the chef is. I enjoy making them ever so much.

A little bit on forging…

Currently I am working on a whole page about the forging process of the knife with pictures, but at the moment, do not have everything put together well enough to pull the page off. So I thought a post on forging would be nice.

Forging, what is it? Forging, put simply is the shaping and moving of a metal (in this case steel) in its heated state. It is generally excepted that to skillfully forge a knife one will start at the steel’s high spectrum of tolerable heat, and as the blade progresses in shape and size, move down to the lowest forge-able heat for final shaping and straightening. After the blade has been straightened it must be normalized at least three times, then it is usually annealed to soften it for working. The normalizing and annealing processes are called thermal cycling, and are usually done to decrease grain size in the steel.

Why forge a blade? Is a forged blade batter? I enjoy making knives that showcase my skill (not that I have a lot of it). Forging is a way to do that. I believe a craftsman should work in a way that reflects and displays his skill in a humble, yet obvious way. making a knife in the ancient style of forging does just this. There is a great bit of controversy on if forging a blade makes a better knife. After doing some research and just from using some common sense I can say that, no, forging does not make the knife preform better. Some things give slight advantages, such as the forge finish, which provides protection from rust as well as displaying the maker’s ability to forge the blade to almost the exact right dimensions. Forged blades are also less wasteful than blades made by stock removal, since you are moving the steel instead of cutting and grinding it. Usually a forged blade takes more skill and time to make than a normal stock removal blade. Basically owning a forged blade is a pride to the owner and to the maker, but has no physical performance advantages over other making styles.

I thought I would take a moment to talk about the forge finish. It is what is left on the blade after the heating of the steel, that is the black scale on the blade. Forge marks come either from the hammer, or from the scale being pounded into the blade.  Together, Chefthe marks and black scale provide the ”forge finish” I enjoy leaving it on, they provide depth to the blade instead of one solid piece of silver colored steel. As stated they protect it from rust as well as prove the makers ability to forge to close dimensions. Some people think the forge finish is an excuse for the maker to skip some work on the blade. But actually it takes more skill, time and effort to retain forge finish than to remove it.                                                                    Above, is a Western style chef knife covered in forge scale and marks after it has been wet forged and profiled.

To conclude, forging a blade is a wonderful experience for the maker, and to own a forged knife is to own a piece of work that has had lots of labor and time put into it.

I hope that you found my little rambling about forging helpful, please let me know if there is anything I should add to this post.

First Post

Well Hello. I decided to do this post as sort of an ”icebreaker”, since I do not have any knives that are completed to show, but do not have a lot on this site. So here are some examples of my work, my current abilities and also a little bit on what I would like to do in the future.

RA bushcrafter2
Here is a bush crafting knife. I thought it would be good to start us off since that is how I got started, by making these style knives. The blade on this knife has a mustard patina on it, which is applied to the blade for  some rust protection. I often get people asking ”what is that stuff on the blade, and what is it for?” Well the mustard patina is applied partially for the character it adds to the blade, it also resists further patina and rust. Some people are attracted to the look of the patina, some are not. This knife has nickel silver pins and a cocobolo handle. I love making these knives and hope to further develop my design in the future.

skinner knife
I apologize for the quality of this picture, but I wanted to display this is a skinning knife I made. I really dedicated a lot of time into the handle. The handle has 14 pieces and is at about the limit of amount of handle parts and handle intricacy that I can do currently. It is interesting to note, that those little brass slips in the handle along with their spacers are not just slid onto the tang with a perfect fit, but also pinned for a very strong connection. Handle materials are wenge, brass and bloodwood.

Drew neck knife3BG EDC
Next are two examples of my cheapest (and arguably most useful second only to my bushcrafters) knives. They are my EDC/neck knives line. I like to stick with a fairly traditional style neck knife so that limits the design somewhat, but since the design is a time tested one, that is not a problem. The knife at the top is a legitimate neck knife with a bocote handle, the knife on the bottom is a little smaller design with a slightly different taste, but still with that neck knife style.

Paring knife MM Kitchen paring SC paring3
This next batch of pictures are some of my paring knives. I seem to make a lot of these. As you can see I have two distinct designs, guarded paring knives and plain. The guard was actually a custom order that I was not happy about making due to the guard, but after the customer had had them for a time, they started telling me how well the little guard worked to stop your finger when working.

RE antler handle knife SC knife brass guard two Fnessmuk3
Here are three work knives. I really enjoy this style of knife.
The nessmuk blade (third picture) displays some wire work on the handle. This can add a lot of character to a knife.

Here is a random selection of pictures.
File work

File work on the spine of a knife.
Heavy Hunter

Hunting knife.

Scandi outdoor knife

Outdoors man’s knife with contoured handle.

SC sheath

One of my sheaths.

CCTanto

This is a Tanto style knife.
carvign knife2 fillet in log

Here is a little carving knife.                                   This is a fillet knife with a cool lanyard.


Chef and paring

Chef’s knife and paring knife (these were made when I did not have lots of experience) I would enjoy doing more chef’s knives even though I mainly do outdoor knives.

If you have any questions about my knives, feel free to ask.