My Style

Overview
I'm constantly learning and progressing, and hopefully my opinions are even changing somewhat over time.  This is the most important aspect of my style.  That said, please allow me to briefly attempt to define what kind of a knifemaker I feel that I basically am.
I made fixed blades only for several years.  Now I am making folding knives as well.  My ambition is to try to branch out at one time or another to as many areas of the maker's trade as possible, i.e., swords, kitchen cutlery, hunting knives, pocket knives, marlin spikes, etc.  Kitchen knives are now a major specialty of mine.
I value the concept of "sole authorship" and adhere to my understanding of it.  Not because I think I'm better than anyone else, I just want to hog all of the fun on anything I make.  For clarification of this idea, see below.
I make knives to suit a purpose.  I am a bladesmith who forges knives and occasionally I make knives by the stock removal method.  I like new materials, comfortable handles, and clean elegant design.  For elaboration, see below.
Stock Removal/Forging 
One of the great strengths of the bladesmith over other types of knifemakers is his/her ability to use any type of pattern and combinations of materials to pattern weld his/her own blade stock.
Another strength inherent to bladesmithing is that the bladesmith as opposed to the stock removal artist is more likely to perform his/her own heat-treating in house. (The forge itself is a very commonly used heat-treating furnace, as is the oxy-acetylene torch, another fundamental tool of the bladesmith’s shop). This allows the bladesmith the precise control to differentially harden and temper blades for edge holding and strength/flexibility.
A third strength of the bladesmith is his/her ability to recycle steels from diverse sources, sometimes creating a blade with added meaning to a client. (For instance, a pattern welded motorcycle chain blade for a biker). 
All of this being said, one should tailor one’s techniques to best fit one’s materials, and for this reason I will often create entirely hollow-ground and/or stock removal blades.
 Application, Environment - based design
I strive to be, above almost all else, versatile in what I do and this applies to my choices in handle material and construction as well. Just as a knife that will be used for processing salt-water fish should very likely be stainless steel with a fine edge, the handle scales or grip material should be durable and impervious to moisture.
For this reason I often prefer to use synthetics such as G-10, Micarta, even industrial plastics, etc. for any blade that will see hard use or a corrosive environment. For a blade that will be used away from corrosive elements and remain mostly dry in use (or wiped dry promptly, ya gotta treat ‘em right) I am more comfortable using natural handle materials.
Aesthetically, I think that a wide range of both synthetic and natural materials can look beautiful if used well.

 Tang Design, Grip Construction

I have read and heard much about the relative merits of full tangs, full hidden tangs, and partial hidden tangs as well as others such as rabbeted tangs, etc. and while any of them can be well executed I will usually use a full exposed or hidden tang for strength unless the handle material dictates otherwise.
On a handle I suspect will see any impact to the butt, I will usually put a buttcap. I very often fully taper my full tangs to aid in balance and reduce weight.

             I got into making integral knives a few years ago, and still love the challenge in the construction and the flow that it lends to a finished piece.  I make both common integral styles- full tangs with taper and hidden tangs.  I love to try new styles of integral knives and invent things as well, when I can.
 Heat Treatment for Carbon Steels

For carbon steel blades, I will usually begin by forging to profile and hammer - shaping the bevels, and unless otherwise specified, will single quench and double temper at ranges suited best for that specific type of steel.  This is usually followed by drawing the spine to a spring temper.  I realize that while these techniques produce a superior blade when done right, there are smiths who are constantly experimenting with thermal treatments to push the boundaries of edge holding and flexibility and there are methods beyond these, cryogenics, etc.  However, a knife is always going to have to be sharpened eventually and there is something to be said for knowing how to do it. A knife should also not be used for a pry bar, or a screwdriver, or be thrown at things only to bounce off and hit a rock. (You get the idea, I’m sure.) 

Sole Authorship
As a knifemaker, when I look at the high end work of someone like Rodrigo Sfreddo or Joe Keeslar, Buster Warenski, Harvey MacBurnette, etc. I get a "wow" factor out of the term "sole authorship." It's inspiring to me to see the skilled art that can be accomplished by the hands of one of these extremely talented, experienced craftsmen and to strive toward that level of excellence one day.
Roger Siminoff, the well known luthier, wrote something that stuck with me: "it is traditional for the craftsman to be as skilled in embellishment as in assembly."
           Look at Stan Fujisaka, for instance. I would never detract from his skill and artistry in any way; I have seen his blades up close and the fit and finish and actions are impeccable. He's a liner lock legend. At the same time, he often has scrimshaw done by Linda Karst Stone or mokume made by Mike Sakmar, etc. In no way does it detract from the quality.
           On the other hand, look at Ariel Salaverria. I have seen pics of his knives that look a little rough around the edges (IMHO) but at the same time he's amazingly creative with damascus, mokume, laminates, all kinds of innovation in developing his own shop methods of tweaking or manufacturing his own materials. Look at some of his cable stuff. As a maker this inspires the hell out of me.
            I think, certainly for my part, and for the general public as well, that the "wow" factor really grabs people because they want to be inspired or amazed. Some makers I look at as true "renaissance men" and I frankly often despair that I will ever reach such heights of skill, if not for lack of potential, certainly for lack of time and capital.
            If you are a maker, remember the first few knives you made, when your friends or family or new acquaintances would look at them and go "wow, you made that?" I think this is just that on on a whole new level. When you have jaded collectors and salty dog makers standing around a knife with their jaws hitting their collarbones over a blade, you know it's something special. 
                                                            

                         Heat Treat for Stainless

                For stainless steel blades I now have a 24" Paragon digital heat treating oven in house, so I use that for much of my heat treating.  For steels that benefit from it, such as AEB-L stainless, I will finish the quench hardening in a dry ice bath to minimize retained austenite.  

 

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