A Ton of Work No One Will See


July 15, 2008, 09:05 PM
Except for whoever reads this, I guess! :)

When I went out to the shop last night to start working, this is what I was looking at:


First I sharpened and etched my logo on the Super Camp on the bottom and now had all those Fighters in the middle to work on. Look about ready for heat treat? No. Not even close! :fire:

First I set up the grinder with a 1" rubber wheel and a 60 grit belt and ground out the 2 choils per knife. Then each handle area got painted with blue Dykem and I laid out the pin holes with a caliper. Each knife is different since they're hand made so each much be measured and laid out. I only did the CPMD2 knives as they're much different from the ATS-34 knives and much heavier. I was determined to lighten them up some. :)

Over on the drill press I used a 1/4" drill bit to drill the pin holes and lanyard tubing hole, then started drilling "lightening" holes. I drilled 2 or 3 between the rear pin hole and lanyard tube hole, then a bunch in front of the front pin hole. Then I take a carbide "G" bit and run it through the pin and lanyard tubing holes as a 1/4" pin will not fit in a 1/4" hole. The "G" bit doesn't take much more out, just a little and that's what's needed. Drilling all these holes in CPMD2 is not fun and looking at the expanse of steel between the pin holes I decided to go to the mill rather than stand at the drill press all night.

I set up the mill with a 1/2" end mill and plunged it in like a drill bit near the rear pin hole, and once it was through locked it down and hit the power feed to move it towards the front pin hole. When it got near there I stopped it, got the knife out and did another. I wound up with the 5 CPMD2 knives all done and ready for heat treat but it took all night to get this done! Tough stuff for sure.

Here's what they look like now - Browning's is on the right and it's a hair under 5.5". After heat treat I'll cover up all that work with the handles - sniff. :( Ah well, on to the ATS-34 ones tonight, and they'll be easier.


I hope you like this glimpse into making knives - it's not unusual for knifemakers to drill 20 or 30 holes in the tang to balance the knife. All of our work isn't glamorous like those.... those "tinkers" who just sharpen stuff. :D

I have steel for 6 more in CPMD2 and I have to get those made also!

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1 old 0311
July 15, 2008, 09:08 PM
Great work. Be proud!

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
July 15, 2008, 09:11 PM
Awesome - I do indeed enjoy seeing how a craftsman such as you does his work. :)

July 15, 2008, 09:42 PM
Me too.
More pics!

July 15, 2008, 09:46 PM
Thanks, I thought some might be interested. Little steps mean so much, like drilling out of the pin holes with a "G" bit. I've gotten knives back from heat treat to find I didn't do that step - that's why I now have carbide bits. After heat treat drilling this stuff is very difficult but doable with the right bits.

Eleven Mike
July 15, 2008, 10:09 PM
I once made the mistake of deciding that my Barteaux Machete needed a thong hole in the front part of the handle. Wow, that was a long, tough job. I can only presume you use a harder steel/heat treat than what I was working on.

Brian Dale
July 15, 2008, 10:15 PM
Wow - that's impressive. Many of your terms and techniques are over my head, but I get the point, and I understand the goal: weight and balance are important.

Your title caught my eye, and I do know what it's like: :eek: I'm doing a major expansion and remodeling of the kitchen right now. I hope whoever invented carbide bits and saw blades got very rich. ;)

Edited to clarify: I know what it's like to put effort into what will not be seen. I'm not claiming skill at metal working. Great stuff, Valkman! Thanks for bringing us in to see it.

Smokey Joe
July 15, 2008, 10:22 PM
Valkman--It's always a pleasure to see a craftsman at work. Or his work. I'm not a knifemaker, I'm a knife appreciater.

Question: About how do your knives Rockwell scale for hardness when finished?

That finished Super Camp is nice looking. Just looked @ yr website (nice arrangement, BTW) and the fighters are very nice also.

What's the deal by which you send knives to the military?

July 15, 2008, 10:23 PM
I tell Paul Bos what I'd like the steel hardness to be and he makes it happen. I usually tell him 58-60 Rc and the last time I wanted to drill a 1/8" hole in hardened CPMD2 I had to use a carbide end mill - a drill bit just "walked around". I tried to centerpunch it and it flattened the centerpunch! :)

July 15, 2008, 10:26 PM
Joe, I just sent 3 Fighter's by way of the MAP program that Dan at Relentless Knives has. Try www.relentlessknives.com and look for the MAP Program. I also have a customer who wants to outfit some Marine spec ops guys and we're working on that deal right now.

Anyway, it's out to the shop for me and I'll take more pics!

July 15, 2008, 11:57 PM

I can truly appreciate what you and other craftsman do.
There is a l-o-t of thinking ahead on prep work, many steps ahead, that make the finished and polished product what it is.

Thank you for sharing with pictures, and I await more sharing from you.

The Tourist
July 16, 2008, 12:07 AM
Valkman, if I ever migrate to NV, can I come stay at your house? Yikes, the knives look fan-tas-tic!

July 16, 2008, 01:45 AM
You know Chico, I had a kid (29) ask me about stuff and he wanted to make knives. He lives here in town so I told him to come over and he couldn't believe it. He came that night and has never shown up again.

If I had ever EVER ever had the chance to work with a knifemaker I'd of been camped on his lawn waitiing to get in. I told this guy he'd be making what I did in 1 year instead of the 3 it took me leaning everything the hard way. Ah well, guess he found something more important.

Yes, I'd teach anyone who wants to learn. Many do it and many charge for it but it's a way to lean that's invaluable.

More pics and stuff soon.

The Tourist
July 16, 2008, 02:05 AM
If I had ever EVER ever had the chance to work with a knifemaker

Funny you should mention that. I just got an invitation to a "grind in" from Mike Stewart over at Bark River Knives.

As you know, there are about six really serious working tinkers who haunt the Keeping Sharp section of Knife Forums. Mike had heard some of us discuss "paste and glass" polished edges, but I got the idea he had never seen one.

Last week I sent him a mirror polished Veff fillet knife to test. While he did not care for the knife itself, he got to see a mirrored edge.

His invitation was out of the blue, and I'm flattered. Now I'm scrampling to switch my schedule around. It's only a four hour drive from my home.

July 16, 2008, 02:36 AM
I'm going to WA, probably in Sept., to learn from Todd Begg for 3 days. It's $700 but you get him to teach you anything you want for that time - and he's a master machinist besides being an awesome knifemaker. One way or another I'm going!

Anyway, tonight I got the 7 ATS-34 Fighters ready for heat treat. I like big handles and this knife has a 6" handle, a lot of steel especially since when I'm done grinding I've removed 2/3rds of the steel from the blade. Some have told me they like a knife to be handle heavy and not to drill holes, but I like balance in a fighter and since no one in the Group Buy has requested a heavy handle I'm drilling them all.

If you look at my Super Camp, I don't drill any extra holes:


Being 1/4" steel and having a 5" handle it's already balanced just the way it is.

So here I lay out where the holes will be:


I just drill the lanyard hole where I feel like - it doesn't matter much.

My drill presses - I only use the 2 bigger ones:


Just drilled the pin holes and lanyard tube hole:


Now just drill a whole bunch more!


Over 20 holes each, 7 knives, and went back over the pin holes and lanyard tube hole with a new G bit. Sanded down any ridges from drilling on the 9" disk grinder, used acetone to remove any blue stuff and etched my intials and "ATS-34" into each knife as Paul Bos requests.


12 done for Bos now, but you can include up to 20 for the same price. Now I'll make 6 more Fighters from scratch out of the 2 remaining bars of CPMD2 (visible by the drill presses with the tape at the top) and profile some CPMD2 Small Skinners. As soon as those are done off to heat treat they go!


Tom Krein
July 16, 2008, 06:10 AM
Looks good Don. Give me a call sometime...



July 16, 2008, 06:41 AM
nice to see people take pride in their work, thanks for documenting it.

July 16, 2008, 07:35 AM
Thanks for posting your progree and explaining. It is fascinating. You do great work!

July 16, 2008, 10:16 AM
Here's what they look like now - Browning's is on the right and it's a hair under 5.5".

So that's the one huh?

Cooooal! :D

I'm getting kind of excited.

Eleven Mike
July 16, 2008, 01:09 PM
Hey Browning,

Wait until after the heat treat, then tell him you want all kinds of little custom touches. :)

July 16, 2008, 01:40 PM
Hey Browning,

Wait until after the heat treat, then tell him you want all kinds of little custom touches.

Hmmm, that's a good idea. ;)

Maybe have last name stamped on the hilt or something.

July 16, 2008, 04:43 PM
Looks good Don. Give me a call sometime...



Thanks Tom - folks here's a guy that could show me a lot. I struggle to get 20 knives ready for HT and gets 200 ready. I could learn a ton from him.

Wait until after the heat treat, then tell him you want all kinds of little custom touches.

Yep, that's when most ask for that and I say NO! LOL

July 16, 2008, 06:50 PM
That settles it, I'm buying one of your knives in the near future.

July 16, 2008, 07:19 PM
They're like Dorito's - buy all you want and I'll make more! :D

Man what a day! A local guy called about ordering a knife and I told him to come on over, so he did and he ordered 2 knives and bought the one Landshark I had done and for sale. He brought the page from Blade about my Super Camp so I signed it for him. I love that stuff!

Then I called Tom Krein and had a great time talking to him. Knifemakers are not all equal in talent and Tom is far above me on the knifemaking "ladder". I love talking to other knifemakers and that was a lot of fun.

Dang, now I'll have to go do actual work! :p

July 16, 2008, 07:58 PM
Don - With all the fun you're having (and all the work you're doing), you aren't talking about your shoulder anymore. Is it better? Or are you just living with it?

The Tourist
July 16, 2008, 08:19 PM
Seeing all these pictures, this is killing me!

July 16, 2008, 08:20 PM
When I actually have to grind the knives it's a problem as are my elbows. My shoulder hurts to sleep on it and I have not been doing what hso said, which was great advice about icing it regularly during the day. When I did do that it calmed down so I am just living with it until I can get in to see the shoulder doc next week.

Edit - I forgot to put in here that the MRI showed some kind of tearing in the big ol' tendon. Not a complete tear but enough to make things miserable at times. It also talked about "tendinopathy" or something like that. I just hope it doesn't need surgery!

July 17, 2008, 02:11 AM
I tried. I was all pumped up after calling Tom and determined I'd turn 6 feet of bar stock CPMD2 into 6 knives ready for heat treat. I got them drawn out, bandsawed them, profiled them and ground the bevels on all 6. Then I went for the home run, getting them ground and after one lousy knife my elbows and back said "no more!". Shoot. So I sat a few minutes and went and drilled pin holes and lanyard tube holes in all of them.

I should have them finished tomorrow, then I can profile and grind a few Small Skinners and send it all to Mr. Bos for heat treat. :)

July 17, 2008, 02:18 AM
If I were to order one of the CPMD2 Fighter knives, how long would it be to delivery? I keep eyeballing those and thinking how nice one would be.... :D

July 17, 2008, 02:46 AM
Don you do beautiful work. I just bought a new kife not too long ago but next time I am in the market I am definately talking to you. I definately like the way you post your process and the pictures. I can appreciate how much hard work you put into these knives and I commend you on doing a fine job.

July 17, 2008, 04:32 AM
PTK, I would guess a month at this point to finish it and then the sheathmaker's time. The Kydex seems to take a couple of weeks and the leather guy 4-5 weeks. So probably 2 months.

But I'm delivering some way earlier than I predicted and there's others who ordered Super Camps in March and I still don't have them done. This is why I don't take money up front! If the shoulder doc next week says I need surgery there'll be a much bigger delay!

redraidermgr, thank you! :)

July 17, 2008, 05:14 AM
Are you saying, if I put an order in now, it's pay when it's ready?! NO custom maker does that anymore... you're amazing, if that's the case.

Also, if that's the case, I'm putting an order in. :D

Eleven Mike
July 17, 2008, 07:15 AM
How long would it take you make me one of those saw blade pocket knives, with the PVC handle?

Tom Krein
July 17, 2008, 08:51 AM
Don, keep up the good work!

Good talking with you yesterday!


July 17, 2008, 04:38 PM
PTK, to me no good maker takes money up front. If something happens to me 2 weeks from now we're all good because you haven't lost anything.

Eleven Mike, I think 3 years is about the waiting period on those. LOL

Thanks Tom, that really helped me. I read about how you glue liners to the handle stock and I've heard of that before but never done it and recently ruined a knife because of it. The liner shifted and I didn't see it until the next day - ruined and thrown across the shop!

July 17, 2008, 06:09 PM
You convinced me. PM sent with contact information. :)

July 21, 2008, 04:15 PM
26 knives going to Paul Bos today, so if you're knife isn't already done and at the sheathmaker's it's in there. :)

There's a few CPMD2 Small Skinners and a very few CPMD2 Bird & Trout in there. If anyone wants to make a "matching set" let me know. :D

July 21, 2008, 04:49 PM
Is the stock used for the small skinners the same thickness? I may take you up on that.... :D

July 21, 2008, 06:07 PM
No sir - these are made from 1/8" x 1" bar. They are thinner to cut like they're supposed to. :)

If you add a Small Skinner with Brown Micarta it'll be $125 plus whatever sheath you want. Grn/Blk Linen Micarta orders are killing me so $15 extra for that. $50 for leather or digital camo Kydex, $40 for black Kydex.

If you add a B&T with Brown Micarta $145 ea. plus sheath - $15 extra for grn/blk Linen Micarta. I only have 3 of these coming back and I have one I am currently making with a bolster and stag. That one will be $350 plus the sheath. :)

July 21, 2008, 07:59 PM
Nice work Don. Ever thought of tapering a few of those tangs ?

Do your sheaths in house bud and cut down that turn around time :)

July 21, 2008, 08:06 PM
It's taking forever on the leather stuff, for sure. My wife did it but her hands got bad so I outsource it. At least the Kydex guy here only takes 2 weeks!

I have thought of tapering the tangs on the CPMD2 fighters but haven't done it yet. I have a batch of Landsharks I did taper and had Bos HT and now I find all my tapering was not straight - there's a bend in the middle of where the handle goes and it's a royal pain to fix. I've always said tapering was easy but I fudged these up good. :o

Sniper X
July 22, 2008, 06:27 PM
I love that Landshark....how much if I want one?

Beautiful work!

July 22, 2008, 09:54 PM
I taper after HT Don... less chance of warpage. :)

July 22, 2008, 10:01 PM
Sniper, I have a couple of ATS-34 Landsharks heat treated and ready to go - these are not tapered. For "regular" handle materials like micarta or G10, $225 plus sheath.

Thanks JTW - I might have to try that.

July 22, 2008, 10:17 PM
PM sent V, I guess you finally talked me into one. Also, tell us about the zippers you have on your "Knives I have made" page. You been holding out on us?

July 22, 2008, 10:59 PM
I taper after HT Don... less chance of warpage.

Valkman could probably be bribed to get a knife out sooner.
You see, the boy does not have a air conditioned shop.
He had a "swamp cooler" but he got rid of it, when his wife said he was going to get Air conditioning in his shop.

The wife obviously did not say when...and dingbat got rid of the swamp cooler.
The boy never said he was smart...*wink*

Valkman gets "warped" working in a hot shop. More warped than he already is mind you ...

I can't wait to see the results of the contributions I shared with Valkman...
Valk, you did get the paint sticks, that paper, chamois leather, talcum powder , that other stuff and bees wax didn't you?

I mean everybody knows talc is a old , and I do mean old polishing tip. Right?


July 22, 2008, 11:04 PM
first time on your site-- very nice work. I am sure to be ordering something soon.

July 22, 2008, 11:13 PM
Got it Chip, and thanks. :) The "Zipper" was a one time deal where I had a narrow piece of Damascus and just made what I could of it. A guy gave me home-made micarta stuff and I used it on that. Camoe out real nice but no one would buy it, so I traded it to another maker for one of his.

sm, That's why I'm in the house right now looking at this stuff instead of working - I gotta get back out there!

Thanks midnights - I need to redo the Fighter page as I have much better pics now.

July 22, 2008, 11:20 PM
Thanks for posting this.

Sorry if this is a stupid question:
Would a cheap plasma cutter do as good a job skeletonizing the handles and be a lot faster, or would the heat from it cause warpage? (I really doubt the heat would cause a problem if done before tempering) A diamond wet saw is another possibility, but I dunno if I've ever heard of one being used on metal and there's probably a reason for that...

July 22, 2008, 11:40 PM
I don't think plasma cutters are accurate enough. If someone was swimming in money, they could wire EDM it.

Are you getting carbide bits through a traditional industrial supply catalog like MSC? Or are there stores catering to smaller purchases? At work, we order stuff through some large local tooling suppliers but I don't think they're going to open an account for a guy that needs a #45 carbide drill, a Kennemetal K21 cutoff tool, and a 3-flute 3/16" TiCN carbide ball mill. It would be nice to get carbide tooling for home projects when cobalt M42 doesn't work (ie hardened steels, titaniums).

July 23, 2008, 01:02 AM
I know one knifemaker who has a plasma cutter that his son built, so I guess it can be done. Many get their knives waterjet cut. It's expensive, like $20 per knife.

I go through Enco and MSC for end mills and such. I've found through trial and error that the ones that say "China" on them are crap and the ones that say "USA" are much better. I tried to use the Chinese ones on D2 and CPMD2 and they just won't work. I started getting Putnam brand and they work much much better. Wish I could afford some really good end mills! :)

Fred Fuller
July 23, 2008, 06:27 AM

FWIW I like your blade profile better 'plain' and not fullered (grooved). If it isn't too late, please make mine plain...

Hope your shoulder is getting better- did the Topricin ever get there?



July 23, 2008, 06:47 AM
Don, FWIW I agree with Lee (and would have a similar request) regarding the fuller.


The Tourist
July 23, 2008, 10:48 AM
I'm simply pacing, waiting for mine. Sure, there's fun in anticipation, but for me there's more fun in destroying the UPS box and getting my prize...

July 23, 2008, 02:00 PM
I had only 2 grooved ones and they're going to hso and Tourist. I like 'em both ways but did it to further reduce weight. On the new batch I don't think I did it to any of the ATS-34 blanks as they're already pretty light.

I did get some Topricin and it doesn't seem to help - the wife tried some on her aching hands and it didn't work for her either. I'll keep slathering it on and see but I do go see the shoulder doc today. We have 3 Dr. appts in Vegas today - what fun - but I should also get a used oven. Then I can start powder coating!

I have Alumahyde from Brownell's in Desert Tan, Coyote, Parkerizing Gray and Dark Parkerizing Gray - if anyone wants their knife coated (that I haven't made yet) I'll do it for no charge at this point. Once I get the oven hooked up and can powder coat I'll have a killer black wrinkle finish.

July 23, 2008, 02:16 PM
Mine has a Fuller on there doesn't it? I remember seeing one on there (if I was looking at the right one/2nd knife from top on the first post). I kind of like the look without the Fuller as well, but it doesn't matter that much if it's already on there and after looking at the picture several times it's kind of grown on me.

What does the Fuller do exactly anyway?

Is there a purpose for it other than looks and personal preference about the way it looks?

July 23, 2008, 02:19 PM
For cutting stuff, if you look through the catalogs of (or talk to the salesmen) companies like Linde and/or Airgas (wherever they are with mergers and acquisitions right now) you'll not only find welding and fabrication tools and supplies, but solutions for precision cutting as well.

They have some pretty amazing tech available, and are always reoutfitting their big customers and reselling older tech that is still perfectly good... like water and plasma cutters, industrial grade bandsaws, etc.

July 23, 2008, 03:14 PM
Great-looking knives, Valkman! Have you ever thought about doing a clay-fired finish on the knife edge, like the wave pattern on Japanese swords?

And, do you use an xyz mill? That'd be killer for the lightening holes, you could just cut out a rectangular channel.

Eleven Mike
July 23, 2008, 05:15 PM
What does the Fuller do exactly anyway?

Is there a purpose for it other than looks and personal preference about the way it looks?

Duuude! It makes your knife super-tactically!! So when you stab your enemy during a covert op, his blood spurts out the side, allowing the blade to slide in easily, then withdraw easily so you can engage the next threat!! With a normal, non-super-tacticality knife, of course, you must pull harder to overcome the vacuum created by all that blood in the EXTREME wound you just created!! And we've all been there, right? So embarrassing and UN-tactical!!

Or, for an expert opinion:

July 24, 2008, 12:30 AM
Is there a purpose for it other than looks and personal preference about the way it looks?

Not for me - I use it purely for looks and for "weight loss". And yep, your knife has one. :)

As EM states, there are other makers who claim wonderous things their grooves can do but not mine!

For cutting stuff, if you look through the catalogs of (or talk to the salesmen) companies like Linde and/or Airgas (wherever they are with mergers and acquisitions right now) you'll not only find welding and fabrication tools and supplies, but solutions for precision cutting as well.

Oh no. More place to spend money on neato stuff? Stop already! :D

Great-looking knives, Valkman! Have you ever thought about doing a clay-fired finish on the knife edge, like the wave pattern on Japanese swords?

And, do you use an xyz mill? That'd be killer for the lightening holes, you could just cut out a rectangular channel.

Not really - I've made hamons on oil quenched stuff but nothing fancy. It is awesome when done right.

I have a Grizzly mill, nothing fancy. :)

July 24, 2008, 01:33 AM
When I win the lottery- or get a "real" job, whichever's first- I'll get a Landshark with a slightly elongated blade.

July 24, 2008, 01:57 AM
I keep thinking about slapping a coating on one and sending it to you. Man, some Desert Tan (or Coyote) with Brown Micarta or Dark Parkerizing Gray with Green/Black Micarta - I get all drooly thinking about it. LOL

The Tourist
July 24, 2008, 10:48 AM
You're getting drooly? I surpassed that condition two days ago. I am now stalking the UPS driver...

July 24, 2008, 11:01 AM
As EM states, there are other makers who claim wonderous things their grooves can do but not mine!


You mean owning this knife isn't going to turn me into a virtual ninja like how 11 Mike was saying that I can use to stab people in the torso with without creating a suction so that I can run through a crowd stabbing people even quicker than normal like a Jim Bowie clone gone berserk?

I'm tempted to say forget it since the knife doesn't come with a personality and skill set change, but I guess that's fine. I can still use it to cut things with (as my shoulders slump in disappointment). :D

July 24, 2008, 12:09 PM
I keep thinking about slapping a coating on one and sending it to you. Man, some Desert Tan (or Coyote) with Brown Micarta or Dark Parkerizing Gray with Green/Black Micarta - I get all drooly thinking about it. LOL

Got Napkin? You are about to drool. *snicker*

Now my Small Skinner is not as big you other folks are getting.
Mine is 01. Unlike stainless, it will take on character and personality. *smile*.

Now a box of ribs, is about 60 pounds. There was a box of pork, and a box of beef.
Some of these racks had to cut into. No problem with the Small Skinner.
I just stropped on the wax coated heavy cardboard box as I went along. Actually just wiping the blade if you will.

These get smoked real s-l-o-w.
Some have a dry BBQ Sauce, some slathered in wet BBQ sauce.
These ribs get cut again with the Small Skinner.

This one of the first "coatings" this knife received.

Just a thought, still if you made more 01, and folks wanted it "coated" you could figure in a rack of ribs in the price and coat these before you mailed them out.

*i'm helpin'*

Brian Dale
July 24, 2008, 01:44 PM
{BBQ sauce...}This one of the first "coatings" this knife received.Might as well start at the top. You treat your knives right.

I'm suddenly hungry. I wonder why. ;)

July 24, 2008, 04:00 PM
I am going to have to stipulate that any BBQ's where my knife is used I will have to be present. Just to check the performance of the knife, of course. :) BBQ sauce should make a great patina!

July 24, 2008, 05:51 PM
Chico, I'm all drooly because I got a used oven yesterday in Vegas and can now powder coat anything that will fit in it. I've had this Powder Coat kit from Eastwood just sitting for weeks waiting for something to cure everything in.

I'll say this - some new makers are tempted to go right into coatings and use tumblers because (as sm said) coatings can hide a lot. I had one goal in mind when I started, and that was to do a true mirror finish as my hero Loveless did/does on his knives. I've worked for 3 1/2 years doing nothing but that and although I still can't do a true mirror finish it's pretty good and now I feel I can move on.

As with the grooves these are just options so it's not required that everyone like them. With coatings or without, with a groove or without - it's just more options. Busse, Strider, Emerson and many others sell tons of coated knives and it may let me use more O1 like I used to. :)

July 24, 2008, 06:05 PM
Finish hides a lot of sin.

A Master Polisher hides no sin, instead brings out the true and righteous of the crafted piece.

A Master Finisher, finishes without hiding sin.


Just keep doing what you are doing, you are doing fine.
Some talents cannot be rushed, as time marinates and seasons the craftsman.


July 24, 2008, 06:17 PM
No way dude! From now on it's grinding at 60 and 120 grits, sandblast and coat! Woohoo! I'm throwing all those 800 grit belts away! :D

Well not really. I could never be happy as a maker unless I can do anything I want to, and not be limited because of things not learned. Lots to do yet to get there though!

July 24, 2008, 06:35 PM
I, for one, prefer a polished knife for the use mine is intended for. I certainly don't need a super tactical amazing coating for hiking and camping!

Also, here's where my limited knowledge of knives shows... CPMD2... I know SO little about this still other than it being a different process D2 steel. I know it'll rust/take a patina over time, that's fine by me. I simply don't know the physical properties of the steel. I currently have 1095 and AUS-8 knives as my favorite, but I read that CPMD2 has better edge retention, is still fairly easy to sharpen, and it all around a great steel.

Eleven Mike
July 24, 2008, 06:40 PM
PTK, the zombies will get you.

July 24, 2008, 09:31 PM
CPMD2 is a fantastic steel that's supposed to be 10X tougher than D2. Crucible makes it out of powder and the powdered steels come out with a much more uniform structure than "regular" steel. Offering it along with ATS-34 may not have been the best idea I've ever had but I'm glad I did it as this place has really supported me and at $225 these knives are a bargain (in my mind).

CPMD2 heat treated by Paul Bos will by far outperform those steels you mentioned.

July 28, 2008, 08:16 PM
Good to know, then! I should be able to use this knife for the rest of my life, then. :)

July 28, 2008, 08:29 PM
How does ASM-5160 (automotive leaf springs) do for knife blades? It's a medium-carbon steel with IIRC about 1% chromium added. Might be tough to work with, but probably not as tough as the tool steels you're working with...

July 28, 2008, 08:40 PM
Leaf springs have generally made pretty good knives, from what I've heard. I've never tried it myself but I would if I got some leaf springs.

I've never tried to grind anything as hard as CPMD2, that's for sure. :)

All knives are still at the sheathmaker or Paul Bos. I did an emergency order of a Landshark and have tried my first powdercoating. Need some more practice!

My shoulder isn't good after a 2nd cortizone shot so looks like rotator cuff surgery is going to be needed. I told the doc I need time to finish all my orders! :)

July 28, 2008, 08:45 PM
Good to know, then! I should be able to use this knife for the rest of my life, then.

I try and make these to be around a long, long time. Much longer than I'll be here. :)

The Tourist
July 28, 2008, 09:26 PM
Valkman, would you please mail out my knife before you die? I promise to remember you always...

July 28, 2008, 09:30 PM
If I don't get to it I'll make sure the wife gets it out! :D

July 29, 2008, 12:14 AM


A steel popular with forgers, it is extremely popular now and a very high-end steel. It is essentially simple spring steel with chromium added for hardenability. It has good edge holding, but is known especially for its outstanding toughness. Often used for swords (hardened in the low 50s Rc) because of its toughness, and is also used for hard use knives (hardened up near the 60s Rc).
Carbon-0.56-0.64%, Manganese-0.75-1.00%, Chromium-0.70-0.90%

I am not metallurgist.

Do note the hardness for swords is in the low 50s Rc because of toughness and hard knives near 60s Rc.

This is a huge key in regard to Steel choice - period.
Geometry, Steel, and Heat Treat are components that make up the sum of the whole.

Today we seem to have a "problem" cycling back again due to Internet.

Folks focusing on one component of a knife, and not the whole of the knife.

a. A true knife person, that understands "the sum of the whole" will use a knife properly for tasks and enviorment.

b. A non-knife person (if you will) getting a "hard" steel will ruin that blade using it for tasks it is not designed for.

c. A non-knife person will chip that hard steel where if the same steel not hardened to that higher Rc would take the use the non-knife subjected it too.

d. A non-knife user will get that hard steel , and not maintain it, whether stropping frequently, or using a fine grit to touch up , and letting it go "past" the easy maintain stage.
Then they try to sharpen it , using improper methods, angles and the like, and the blade will not "get sharp".

So they get mad and announce "this steel is no good!" , with Internet more folks can communicate faster information. Information can be true, or incorrect.

Since folks do not investigate and verify , they jump on the bandwagon with mob mentality and bash a steel, Rc, sharpening method, manufacturer, custom maker, brand names of any and everything knife related, and incorrect information travels fast.

Custom Makers offers a lot to the consumer that Production makers often do not.

Production knives are made to fit a "general use" as the Production folks are not sure what the heck persons are actually going to do with the knife.
Even if they have on a website, discuss on Internet Fora, and have in the paperwork "do not pry, use as a screwdriver, or chisel" folks don't pay attention, try to test the waters or flat have their "interpretations" of what prying, using as screwdriver, or chisel is.

Add, Production is wanting to make a profit, so time is money and each knife gets the same thing in regard to steel, geometry, and heat treat.
Heck, many knives are really not made for "users" instead "collectibles" so why use a steel , and heat treat it, when that knife is going to be displayed, and safe queened?

Custom makers allows a consumer qualities for money spent for Their tasks.
The customer maker will listen to the consumer, and is able to advise the consumer, on steel, geometry and heat treat.

Sticking with 5160.
If a consumer has need for a 12 inch "machete" as they are going to it to clean brush, deal with vines, briar's, small trees, fish, game, rope, etc.
The customer maker is going to advise that 5160 have a certain geometry and heat treat in the low 50s Rc.

Now if the customer has a task for a small fixed blade, for a special task that is best served with a 5160 that is hard , nearing 60s Rc , and that customer is a knife person, with the knowledge, skills sets to use proper methods , and tools to maintain that still , that is what is best for that customer.

Add, the custom maker will educate the consumer on how to maintain, and recommend certain equipment and teach them skill sets to do so - for the tasks they use that knife for.

The next customer might also have the same knife, hard, and their tasks require a different sharpening angle than the other customer.

Sorry for the drift, still I felt it important to toss this out.
I feel a lot of folks are recipients of bad information that travels fast via Internet.

History has shown this happens, and was done before Internet.

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