1) How did you get started in knife and tool making?
I got started making knives in 2014 after being apart of the knife community for many years as a customer/ collector. I always wanted to try my hand at it but never did until Aaron Gough put together a YouTube video showing how to make a knife using simple hand tools. The video can still be found. It's been an incredible venture since I began and I continue to grow the shop and my skills to put out better quality blades and bigger batches of knives. A lot of the online forums such as Reddit, BladeForums, and the USN were of great assistance in coming up as they provided an amazing grounds for feedback and support. I got in to making tools when I made the move to Instagram as I noticed the EDC community starting to carry a lot of these things. My tools have been an amazing way to get my work in to more hands at a cheaper price than my knives. The internet is an amazing educational tool for this industry. So if you're interested just get out there and start searching for information. Between Aaron, Walter Sorrels, Gavko, and other YouTuber-Craftsmen; you have a world of knowledge at your finger tips.
2) Do you provide tracking?
I do! If you place an order through my web-store I can easily provide tracking electronically as I make your label and ship your item. If it is a custom order you'll be sent tracking as well as finished photos to your email. I always ship about a day after you make an order so it will arrive to you shortly, however some items' description may specify a longer turn around time. International orders come with a customs # that USPS sometimes can track for you.
3) Why does [insert custom item here] cost so much?
Simply put because this is my job now. Since 2015 I have had no other means of supporting myself and paying bills except for this. So while making knives in a shed may seem like a hobby for most people and that we should basically charge enough to cover materials... that's not the case. There's no sugar momma, not living at my folks, no one's paying for my way of life but me. I started from hand tools from the very bottom and have used the small profits to upgrade the shop to what it is today which I am still growing. So prices reflect that. My small mountain county has very little to offer in the realm of jobs and it's been a dream of mine to support myself and be my own employer. Since I started as a customer myself; I can say i'm very fair priced when compared to other custom makers with a larger fan base. I use high end and modern materials that are expensive in raw form, I use industry professional heat treating services to ensure the best performance from a steel, and painstackingly hand finish each piece from a block of steel to an ergonomic and beautiful tool.
4) Will you ever be priced lower?
I am always working on introducing new models that reach more attainable price points. With different finishes, fabrication shops, new suppliers I am constantly finding new ways to get more of my work in to more hands. But until I become large enough to have the distribution power, volume, and manufacturing capabilities as larger companies do... it just will not be financially sound to offer items in the $5-15 range.
5) How long does it take to make a knife?
It varies a lot, as I never have just one project on my bench. My turnaround is always 2-6 months, but actual hands on time for a knife is probably in the range of a week to two weeks. This has to do with the fact that i'm always working on multiple knives/tools/projects, am a one-man workshop, and still outsource a few services.
6) Do you charge up front for knives?
No. I am on a first come first serve basis where when I make something I list it for sale and whoever buys it first gets it shipped to them the next business day. On the case of custom orders I only charge a 35% deposit to cover materials and to prove commitment to the build. I will never take full payment for a knife that is not ready to ship. Cheaper items such as bottle openers, tools, and spinners I may take preorders as the demand is too high for me to foot the material bill alone.
7) What influences your designs or style?
I had a long background in a lot of different martial arts. The most dedicated form I spent years with were Krav Maga (with Alan Predolin under Eyal Yanilov). So my style is very much influenced by that, and you can see in my designs they typically have a "fighting themed" element to them. Call it tactical if you will. However I'm a big outdoorsman myself so I still want my knives to have great use for everyday carry tasks and things you might do while camping. Being whittling or splitting some kindling to start a fire. The hard part is balancing the design influence because when it comes to outdoorsy/camping knives there is only so much you can do to design. People know what they want, what works well, and it's difficult to come up with an original interpretation in my opinion. So that's why a lot of my current blades have a bit more tactical vibe to them. I am always evolving, however, as a knifemaker and have some designs on the way that are much more traditional and utilitarian. But they should still show a bit of my style.
8) Are all of your blades handmade?
Yes and no. My listings will dictate whether or not any of my products are truly handmade or a batch built "midtech". I still make one-off true customs by hand and list them here but a lot of my repeated designs such as the WharnPoon or Mini EDC blade are batch built midtechs. I have the profiles waterjet cut in Arizona, hand finished and ground by me in California, then sent to Philadelphia for perfect heat treats all starting from US sourced steels and materials. This gets both prices lower on individual blades and ensure consistency within the batch which is important if they go to a retailer. If my product is marked handmade then it is cut out by me, by eye and hand, from a bar of steel with an angle grinder. I then refine it on my KMG belt sander, drill press, dremel, small grinding wheels, sand paper, etc. Regardless, all of my blades are free hand ground by eye and touch.
9) How long does your spinner spin for?
The V1 is still very much hand made and the tolerances are pretty tight. The bearing are pressed in to the body and are not intended for removal so the spin times are about 10 seconds. I went in to this project full knowing it wouldn't be a record breaking spinner, however, I never understood how staring at a 3 minutes long spinner relieves the need to fidget. The main goal was a custom made, all metal body, affordable spinner for the highly active fidgeter.
The V2s come with a stock greased Bones Reds bearings and spin for about 10-20 seconds dead silent, smooth, and with no play. However if you simply rinse the grease out of the bearing with ISO alcohol or Acetone the spine time increases tenfold to over 1 minute to 2 minutes depending on break in period as well.
10) Why do you leave the grease in the bearings?
The grease is left in for one main reason and that's corrosion resistance. I don't want the bearings or races rusting by any means during shipment, storage, or use. The spinner community seemed quite fond of swapping bearings and having some form of customization ability with their spinners so I left all of this up to the user.
11) Can you remove the bearings in the spinner?
Only on the V2 machined Flippin' Spinner can you remove the bearing. They are held in by the tight tolerances of the machining process and can be pushed out with little force. They come with a note describing this as well as how to secure your bearing when you're pleased with how you've modded it.
11) What does your shop look like?
Currently like this!