For my first project, I decided to use a Kabar TDI(Small) Training knife. Nothing I would cry over if just ended up with ugly gouges.
First, I measured and marked off the sides with a pencil:
Then I carefully marked a small notch on each pencil mark with a file:
Then I made the notches bigger:
I slowly enlarged the notches and smoothed them out until I ended up with this:
Here are the tools of the trade:
Of the six files, I only ended up using three. I started and opened each notch with the triangular shaped file, I rounded it up with the circular file, and I widened and smoothed it up further with the half-circle file.
To say that I was pleased with the results would be an understatement, but it was definitely a learning experience. Marking properly and starting each notch slowly and evenly is very important. It’s no fun trying to shift the notch once you have already started.
This took about an hour, but I’m sure I could cut down the time with fewer mistakes.
Next time, I’ll leave a little more space between the notches and try some more little embellishments.
Thanks for looking!
Strider knives are know for bulletproof knives that can handle insane abuse. The Strider Hatchet was built in the same vein as their other tools: Sturdy and bombproof. This heavy-duty hatchet is more of a breaching tool than a fighting tomahawk style weapon.
Here are the specs on the Strider Hatchet XL(pictured above)according to the Strider website:
- .250″ Black Oxide Coated S7
- 550 Cord Wrapped Handle
- 16.65″ OAL
- 5.86″ Head
- 4″ Edge
- 2lb 3oz
- Kydex Edge Guard
The more common Strider Hatched (non-XL) is shorter and doesn’t seem to be in production currently. Here are some specs from the Regular Strider Hatchet:
- Blade Head Width: 5 1/2″
- Cutting Edge: 2 1/2″ Serrated bevel
- Overall Length: 12 5/8″
- Blade Steel: Crucible S-7- Black Coated
- Handle Material: Tan Paracord
- Sheath Description: Kydex Head Cover
All the Strider Hatchets were made from S7 tool steel and feature a Chisel ground primary cutting edge and a sharpened beard.
The Jeremy Krammes Shortcut is another highly regarded small custom folding knife with numerous options. The Shortcut has four distinctive pinholes at the top of the blade following the spine. The blade is a simple drop-point with a spine swedge. Here are the general specificatons:
- Overall Length(Open): 4 5/8″
- Length Closed: 2 5/8″
- Blade Length: 2″
- Liners: Titanium
- Handle: Carbon Fiber, G10, Titanium, ask
- Opening Device: Thumbhole
- Weight: ~2.3 oz.
- Clip: Tip Up Carry
Here are some photos of the Shortcut from his website:
Visit http://jkknives-shortcut.blogspot.com for contact and ordering information for the Jeremy Krammes Shortcut.
The Eric Ochs Otter Folder fits right in the size range that we are looking at. As you will see in the photos, the options are limitless, but here are the general specifications:
- Blade Length: 2 5/8″
- Blade Thickness: 5/32″
- Blade Grind: Flat ground with swedge
- Length While Closed: 3 7/8″
- Overall Length(Open): 6 1/2″
- Blade Steel: S30V
- Handle: Green, G10, Wood, Titanium, Carbon Fiber
- Weight: ~4.2 oz.
- Opening Device: Spyderco Hole or Hinderer Lockbar Stabilizer
- Clip: Tip Up Carry
- Locking Mechanism: Liner or Framelock with all lock faces carbidized
So lets see what it looks like:
According to his webpage for the Eric Ochs Otter Folder, the base price is $385.
The following options are listed with instructions to call about other options:
- Framelock $20 or Full TI $35
- Bolsters $35 & up
- Wood, bone or Carbon Fiber handles $20 & up
- Hand rub blade finish $20
Since the Brad Southard Downing is a custom knife, there are no real constraints for materials. Here are some general specifications:
- Blade Length: 2 1/8″
- Clip: Tip Up Carry
- Length while Closed: 3 1/8″
- Handle: Titanium / G10 / Carbon Fiber
- Overall Length (Open): 5 1/4″
- Opening Device: Thumb Hole
- Titanium Framelock
- Weight: ~2 oz
- Backspacer: Optional Glow in the Dark
- Blade Steels: Cryo-treated CPM-154, CPM-S30V
- Blade Finishes: Satin/Stonewash Combo, Bead-blasted, Hand-Rubbed
- Blade Shapes: Drop-Point, Hawkbill
Now, let’s get to everyone’s favorite part. The photos:
According to Brad Southard’s page on the Arizona Custom Knives website:
“Since my grandfather first gave me a knife at the age of 8 I’ve been hooked. The love grew from there and I’ve constantly searched for and sought after the best. When my love of woodworking led me to make my own chisels and hand planes, the step to knives was an obvious choice.
While studying Industrial Design in college I learned to machine, and quickly learned all I could about metal working and tried my hand at knives. What started as a hobby and pastime quickly began to pay for my tuition, and before I knew it, it was my main source of income. I made knives part time for quite a while but in 2009 was forced to go full time. I say forced, but it was a welcome move, although a hard one.
Every day I go to my shop and spend a few minutes sketching and drawing, hoping to see if a great new design appears. For every couple hundred sketches I get one or two worth developing farther. My constant goal with design and knives is the age old adage “Form follows function”. The comfort and usability of the blade comes long before how the knife looks, but when a good design comes together you can end up with a beautiful knife that functions well, and you just cant put it down. That’s what I strive for.”
Brad Southard is a relatively new knife maker out of Tucson, Arizona who is building a stellar reputation in the custom knife community. Brad’s order book is currently closed, but you can still find his work through custom knife dealers and collaboration projects(i.e. Triple Aught Design, Liong Mah, etc.)
Special Thanks for the photos to:
It seems like all the big, flashy custom knives get all the attention, but sometimes you need you need something light and small. Sometimes you may wear dress pants that don’t like heavy knives. Sometimes you need a small knife that won’t scare the sheeple. Sometimes you may feel the need to go as small and light as possible. Sometimes you just don’t want to carry a full size knife!
That doesn’t mean you want to abandon all semblance of style and panache. Thankfully there are a number of custom knife makers with fantastic small custom folding knives that will fit your needs. Over the next several weeks, we’ll look at a number of small custom folding knives.
When I compiled this list, I was looking for something similar in size to the Spyderco Dragonfly, a production knife that many would consider to be the standard in the small and light folding knife category:
||5.563 ” (141 mm)
||2.25 ” (57 mm)
||3.313 ” (84 mm)
||1.875 ” (48 mm)
||1.2 oz. (34 g)
||.093 ” (2.5 mm)
I’ll be covering custom knives that are similar to these dimensions. I realize that “similar” is a very subjective word since every knife is different, but I think you will be happy with the selction. Here are few of the knives we will be covering:
- Warren Thomas Mini Model 2
- Yuna EQ-2
- Steve Kelly Kogia Folder
- Brad Southard Downing
- Curtiss Knives Nano
- Jeremy Krammes Shortcut
- Gerry McGinnis Prawn
- and more…
Here is some amazing work that was done on the scales of two Rick Hinderer XM Series Knives. These titanium scales were machined, then blasted for a beautiful finish:
The work was done by Barry H. You can see more of his work here:
This time we have some beautiful wood scales on a smaller knife: The Spyderco Dragonfly
The wood is Hawaiian Koa:
The work was done by the Custom Scale Division in Europe.
Good prices on the Spyderco Dragonfly.
More fantastic Spyderco customization work from Roman at CustomSpyderco.com:
Handle: Cocobolo Rosewood
Back Spacer: Titanium
According to their website, work like this would cost ~$370 USD depending on the specific wood.
I’m sure we will be covering more of his work in the future…
Here are some good prices on the Spyderco Endura
I know that the vast majority of knife owners never even contemplate sharpening their knife, much less changing parts, customizing, or modifying it, but there is still a group of passionate knife owners that want to take their production knives to the next level.
Any knife enthusiasts who has been doing this for any length of time is bound to have a drawer or box full of spare parts. Extra scales, screws, blades, etc. from parts knives. For some of us, that pile of parts represents a significant monetary investment.
Maybe this is just a pipe dream, but I would love to see more production knife manufacturers offer individual knife parts for sale. I can’t offer any hard numbers to convince them that they would make any money in this endeavor, but I can say with certainty that it would foster a great deal of goodwill amongst their most passionate customers. Can you really put a price on that?