I finally have my first batch of stainless knives ready to go out for heat treating. Twelve total blades with ten being CPM154 and two being ATS34. They run from my Nubilus and Isle Royales to a generously sized Isle Royale Alpha V2. This only took about eight months longer than I’d planned. It just wasn’t cost practical until recently and then other factors slowed the process. My plan is to keep a fairly steady flow after this. Once these come back and are being finished and sold I’ll also be prepping the next set to go out.
I’ve been using the Alpha as a kitchen knife every day since I made it. I’m still very happy with it and the performance in general, the design seems to work quite well as a general purpose prep knife. About a week ago I finally noticed it wasn’t quite as razor sharp as it had been and today it finally actually felt like it needed sharpened. So nearly a month of use between touch ups for a personal kitchen knife, not bad. I hadn’t expected the relatively soft 1084 to go that long. I’ll touch it up on a stone this weekend and continue the testing.
The patina developed nicely and there’s been no issues with rust, but I’ve been very good about cleaning it off and drying it. No issues with the micarta or pins, not that I expected an but I’ve never used paper micarta on a knife I got wet regularly. I normally use linen or canvas micarta, or G10.
I’ll see about a pic of the patina this weekend after sharpening so folks unfamiliar with how carbon steel’s react over time when used this way can get a look.
It’s not quite 100% ready, and still needs a sheath, but here’s my knife for the summer KITH. It’s one of my curves in 1/8″ 1084 featuring stabilized old growth redwood scales and mosaic pins. As pretty as the wood is, this is meant to be used and the design is essentially my ideal EDC. I keep a similar knife at my desk and another in the shop. I plan to make another for actual carry since neither of mine are built to have decent retention in a sheath. This one will get an IWB loop on the sheath, setup for a right hand user in a strong side or crossdraw setup. A few seconds with a screwdriver can reverse it or remove the loop to install a clip or solid loop for OWB carry.
I wanted something a bit special for my summer KITH knife and Burlsales.com had just what I wanted. It’s stabilized by K&G so it will hold up more easily than raw wood, making it more suitable for a knife that will see regular use. I didn’t really give it the full treatment for the photo, just a quick sanding and oil, then buff, but you can at least get an idea of the natural beauty waiting to be revealed.
My regular job has been keeping me pretty occupied lately but I got my Knifedogs.com summer KITH blade just about ready for a handle. I have some redwood on the way for scales and once it’s all complete I’ll post pictures.
Here’s version two. I included top down views of both versions as well. V2 is almost perfect for my usual kitchen work. I prefer a thin grip since I do a pinch grip for 99% of the things I’d use a knife like this for and that kept the handle weight just right. I diced up an onion and it worked perfectly. I will do a more complete eval later but I think this one gets added to the model list. I may pass this one around to some chef’s in the area and get their opinions on the design to see what can be improved next. The steel is not a great choice for a kitchen knife, but we’ll see what I can do for future production.
I whipped this up over the weekend to see how I like the design and because I wanted something just for me. She’s just over 10″ long out of 3/16″ 1080 with stabilized fiddleback jarrah handles. I consider this a prototype as well, since I have a few more rough profiled from CPM154 and this way I can play with it a bit before actually grinding them.
Since it’s obviously a scaled up Isle Royale I couldn’t come up with a compatible name and decided to just add Alpha to the original design’s name.
(added)The universal response seems to be that folks would use it in the kitchen. That wasn’t the original intent, but I admit that the first thing I used it for was cooking dinner just to play with it. I think I’ll accept that my original concept is not how anyone else sees this knife and tailor it a bit to the tasks folks DO see it being used for.
Taken down to a very fine edge rather than a significant secondary bevel meant to provide strength when doing light chopping.
Shorter handle, also shaving off some of the lower section near the heel to provide extra clearance.
Shape the scales a bit differently. Bias toward a comfy pinch grip for starters.
I’ve dropped the price of the burl handled Isle Royale down to $150. I won’t be going lower, so if you’re interested, now’s the time. Rather than another price reduction it will be donated to a charity for fund raising or given as a gift….
I get asked about steel a lot, and since I use 1080 and 1084 for my carbon steel blades I often find myself explaining the properties of these steels and contrasting them with the more well known 1095. The whole issue comes up constantly on the various knife forums, but often the explanations are very technical or incomplete since they’re dealing with specific issues rather than the overall comparison.
Today, one of the most knowledgeable knife makers I know of posted an extremely clear and to the point comparison and since I can’t possibly improve on what he wrote I’ll just link to it.
I wasn’t going to, but decided to post two pics of this one. It’s a Lycaon pattern blade with 1/8″ micarta scales. The only real unique aspects are the slightly less than full height grind and scotchbrite finish, neither of which I have done quite like this on a Lycaon in the past. The various speckles and such are actually camera issues not knife issues.