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Choppapalooza 2013

Four big camp knives and two Imp axes

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The knives may or may not be for sale…

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These choppers came about as a result of some performance testing I did this spring. They were designed for hard use, and they will perform.

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The knives are crudely finished; they make no excuses and offer no apologies for their appearance. For these knives, the only thing that matters is making the cut. The blades are belt finished, the flats retain their fire scale from the forge, while the spine and tang profiles are filed and blued.

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The handles are on the smaller side and are designed to offer a secure grip in bare or gloved hands. The handles aren’t polished or sanded and still bares all the marks from the file’s final shaping. Handle pins are stainless steel and each knife also has a stainless steel lanyard tube for an added measure of security.

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The steel on this first one is L6. It’s extremely tough and can take a lot of abuse. It’s what I used on my JS performance test and it excelled in all categories. The blade was forged, fully hardened, tempered four times, and the spine, tang, and ricasso were drawn back with a torch four times as well. The handle is a piece of old growth redwood cut down many years ago and lost on the bottom of a river where, over the course of many decades, the minerals gave it a darker, almost bluish hue.

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After shaping the handle with files, I gave the wood a few coats of Danish oil and it feels great in the hand. No need for  a slick mirror polish here.

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The blade profile on this one is also a bit pokier than the others. It will make a great all-around camp knife, handling everything from food prep to clearing a camp site and processing kindling.

The steel on the other three is 1084, which will take a wicked edge and retain its sharpness through lots of use. Like the L6 blade, these were also fully hardened, tempered four times, and drawn back on the tang and spine four times. The slight recurve on the blade profiles allows for a bit more of a forward balance than the L6 camp knife, so they will really excel at chopping and woodcraft. The handles on these three are all linen micarta – one in olive green, one in red, and one in bone. The micarta isn’t quite as warm as the redwood, but it can withstand temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors extremely well. No maintenance required.

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The premium leather sheaths were custom made for these knives by the very talented David Seward. They hold the knives securely, protect the edges, and look good doing it.

If interested in any of these knives. please send me an email. As of this writing they’re still available and the prices are very reasonable.

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Bird & Trout Knife – on display in Guilford, CT

Here’s a little bird & trout knife I recently made that will be on display at the Guilford Art Center‘s upcoming Gallery exhibit titled “The Art of the Knife” from July 10 through August 18 in Guilford, Connecticut.

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This little cutter has a forged W2 blade with a stainless steel guard and ancient walrus tusk handle, naturally colored by the minerals in Alaska’s permafrost where it lay for several thousand years before eventually finding its way onto my knife. The blade is differentially hardened and has subtle but active hamon running along its edge (not visible in the photos) and measures a little over three inches in length. The handle fits nicely into the palm of the hand and the slim blade is perfect for dressing out fish and small game.

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The knife will be displayed alongside several others made by craftsmen from all over the country. If you find yourself in the area, please go take a look.

A special thanks to my friend Mace Vitale for organizing this event.

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