My Brother, The Knife Maker

June 19, 2012

My brother, Mason, has the coolest hobby. He likes to make knives, people. Actual knives. These are a few of his recent projects, in his new hobby… The top one was his first knife. The bottom one was the second, and the middle one, is his most recent project – a Father’s Day gift! Pretty incredible, right? 
Mason told us all about the process. I’ll summarize it here, if I can. This contraption is where the magic happens. This is Mason’s forge, it’s made from two firebricks and a propane torch. Sounds dangerous, huh? He named it Grendel, because he read that it’s really unlucky not to name your forge. The first step in the process happens here, the antique file needs to be really, really hot. (Ouch!)
He puts this antique file (he finds these at antique markets or on ebay) in there to get it blazing hot, then hammers it into shape. Watch the video below – it’s pretty legit.

And here’s the final shape of the knife, after shaping, still red hot. It took a few days of this process to get the shape exactly right.
These are his tools, he needs a bigger, heavier anvil, but this one made from a steel i-beam is serving the purpose for now. The tongs he used in the video belonged to Mason’s great-great grandfather. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.

Next for the knife is sanding and grinding. Sharpening comes later. Wouldn’t want to cut your fingers off! Mason sanded the bottom, leaving a little of the roughness on the top half so you can tell that it’s homemade.
Mason made this contraption to straighten the blade and tang – the part that goes into the handle. He gets it blazing hot again in the forge and then puts it in here.

Then, the guard goes on. Mason made this one out of copper and shaped it really well.

Next, the handle starts coming together! Mason added redwood and turquoise pieces to add a special accent.

The shaping continues. The pieces are epoxied together, and you can now start to see the handle come into shape.

And voila… The finished product! 
Mason is starting a website where he’ll be sharing his knife making adventures (and much more!) and hopefully selling them as well. You can find more info here, The Sharper Edge of Life.

Thanks for sharing your knife making process with us Mason, and for letting me brag on you!

Copyright Whitney Curtis 2010-2013

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