NEWS & NOTEWORTHY INFORMATION
Owing to a change in my personal and health circumstances, I have had to take a long break from making new custom knives.
I envisage being laid off for some time. If my circumstances do improve sufficiently during late 2018, I would attempt to catch up with a few outstanding knives. As things are, at time of updating this, I very much doubt that I would be able to return to full functionality and therefore, I would be rather limited to what and how much I can do.
With knife making having been such an important therapeutic activity for me, I have tended to immerse myself in my hobby oblivious to other aspects of life that I should have taken care of. Were it not for my loving and caring supportive wife, I would have been in quite a mess in terms of daily living, etc..
Having become more accepting over the years, I live life as normal as one can, certain limitations excepted. However, in practice, like many Veterans who experienced combat, my Chronic Type 2 (repeated Trauma) Complex PTSD with chronic co-morbid depression together with physical 'in service' injuries, can still, all too often, make life difficult and restrictive. Not just for me, but also my loved ones.
Medication and Trauma therapy aside, my main coping strategies centred around 'keeping busy', 'avoidance' and 'seclusion'. As a consequence, I have tended not to be a very social person! With Knife making, however, interacting with individuals who share my passion allowed me to be active at a specific level, as well as giving me a sense of self-worth through being of service according to my core values that have long proved to be of mutual benefit.
My last knife making activities, with which I struggled, ended in April 2018. Since then, my efforts have been directed towards my loved ones for I owe them, my wife especially, a great debt for supporting me all these years. This, I hope, should in turn impact positively on my general health and wellbeing in the long term.
IMPORTANT: I still have some knife making obligations to fulfil, which I will attend to as and when I can. Therefore, if I'm not already in communication with you, there's no point in contacting me with regard to making or fixing a knife for you.
I shall confirm on here, as soon as I am fit enough to start making knives again.
In the meantime, I would like to thank everyone who has trusted me with their custom knife projects. It has been an honour being of service to you and am grateful for the encouraging positive feedback that has helped to sustain me for so long a time. I wish you all good health and contentment...
(aka Frenchy - 26th Novemeber 2018)
To see archive photos of various type of knives I made to date click on respective link below...
1. CURRENTLY NO LONGER APPLICABLE.
2. What's your preferred type of grind. Here I explain the differences so you can make an informed choice.
Fixed Angle Sharpening System.
Low cost excellent knife sharpening
systems worth considering.
A Video of me making a knife blade. No chance of an Oscar, but
some might find it interesting.
Knife Sharpening problems etc.? See if
I might be able to help you sort your knife out.
6. Disclaimer - How I work and sourcing of materials etc...
7. The re-introduction of the Guardian . Have a look at the blade blanks in the raw.
8. NEW! 6 Sided Super hard Alloy Striker for Firesteels, Flints etc.
When commissioning a new Custom knife you should have some choice as to what type of cutting edge
you want your knife to have. Below I explain about the two main types of grind and respective cutting edge.
Unless I state otherwise, my knives come with either of two cutting edges. These are:
1. A true flat Scandi type primary grind down to zero degree.
2. A Scandi type primary grind with a secondary bevel.
For most BUSHCRAFT enthusiasts, the full flat Scandi grind is the preferred grind. This type of grind can be made shaving sharp using flat Japanese whetstones. The first few sharpening sessions can be take some time, but it becomes less so thereafter. For some, sharpening the Scandi grind comes easy, while for many, it can take some time to become proficient.
THE SCANDI GRIND: Before you opt to have a knife with a true flat Scandi grind, it is recommended that you have (or able to buy) the right equipment to sharpen such a knife. Japanese type Whetstones don't come cheap, but I found that the cheapest way is to buy a combination stone of say 1000/3000 grit grade for maintaining the cutting edge in good order. A 250/800 stone might be needed if you accidently nick the edge as it'll speed up the process of flattening the grind sufficiently and move on to the finer grade stone. There really is no need to spend silly money on original Japanese type whetstones as there are many cheaper alternatives on eBay that do just as good a job. I do not recommend any other type of materials apart from Ceramic stones/rods. For a proper clean shaving sharp cutting edge, Japanese type whetstones are best. There are some easy to follow videos on YouTube and even if you're inexperienced, as long as you take your time and check your work often, you'll be fine. Determination and perseverance will pay off in the end. Sharpening should never be a a hurried affair, so plan ahead. I'm one of those odd bods who actually likes sharpening and can spend hours at it. If you're not the dedicated type and haven't got the determination and patience to spend an hour or two sharpening your knife using whetstones, than a Scandi grind might not be the right grind/cutting edge for you. There's not such thing as a quick, few minutes' worth of sharpening session when it comes to a Scandi grind...
THE SECONDARY TYPE GRIND: For most people who enjoy the outdoors, fishing, hunting etc., a knife with a secondary grind cutting edge tends to suit them best. This, on account that this type of cutting edge is very common. Almost all commercially made sporting knives, folders, kitchen/butchers' knives etc., come with this type of grind as standard. This type of grind can vary in depth into the blade, from a micro bevel to an extended two to three millimetres at a steeper angle than the primary grind along its entire length. Most commonly, this type of grind is applied as a secondary bevel to hollow ground blades, but it can be just as easily applied to other types of grinds, including a zero ground Scandi type grind. The main reason for applying a secondary bevel at a steeper angle is to strengthen the cutting edge and thus make it less prone to accidental chipping. When done right, a secondary bevel is stronger and much easier to maintain. Sharpening a knife with a secondary bevel is normally much quicker than sharpening a Scandi grind and the learning curve can be rather short and hassle free.
Sharpening a knife with a secondary bevel is easy enough when using a fixed angle sharpening system, of which there are many types. Forget the slot type manual/electric machines if you want an above average sharp knife. Instead, go for a manual fixed angle Sharpening system that comes with proper whetstones and you'll be set up for life. You'll not just sharpen your custom knife, but also most, if not all your knives at home! There are some very good, but expensive Secondary sharpening systems, like the EdgePro professional system that I use and rate very highly. EdgePro also do the cheaper(?!) Apex model as well, which is more compact and very handy. Other types of Secondary sharpening systems can be very expensive and an overkill for the job in hand.
As an alternative, the Chinese have jumped on the bandwagon and cloned the EdgePro Apex system and even a miniaturised version of the EdgePro professional system! (These are shown below). The material and production quality is not on par to the original EdgePro versions, but then, neither are they anywhere near the cost! I used to stock the USA made models, but once the Chinese imports came on the scene, they put an end to my stocking the original EdgePro models as I could no longer justify the cost no matter how well made the original EdgePro models are. I tried several Chinese versions, but in the end I chose two types, a clone of the Apex and a smaller clone f the Professional model. Overall, I could not fault the Chinese made versions in terms of effectiveness, functionality and price. I have a vested interest that owners of my knives with a secondary bevel ought to be able to sharpen their knife competently and effectively with minimal difficulty. As to which model to choose, I would recommend the smaller EdgePro clone that comes with a solid base that clamps to a smooth surface. For a more easy carry, the Apex clone with sucker feet the one to go for. YouTube and the original EdgePro website have all the learning videos to take you from starting out to becoming well competent. Time invested in learning is never wasted...
So which cutting edge is best for you? The choice is entirely yours no matter which knife model you settle for. There's plenty of information available online about types of grinds and sharpening. You can check out my 'Articles' page for details about types of grinds, sharpening etc.
Rest assured that no matter which knife I make you, regardless of the cutting edge you opt for, you can bet your bottom dollar that it'll have a very keen cutting edge and very likely to be one of the sharpest, if not the sharpest knife, you'll have ever had the pleasure of owning.
FIXED ANGLE SHARPENING SYSTEMS
Theses sharpening systems are suitable for use with all types of knives that have a secondary bevel; as normally found in Kitchen knives, Hollow ground Sporting and Hunting knives etc.
Please note that although there are many so called knife sharpening systems, many are nothing more than useless gizmos. Some are OK for temporary use when out and about, but for an effective serious system to sharpen your knives with, you need a well designed proven system.
If you want the very best, then buy an original EdgePro professional system like I have. I use the professional system, but I make use of it a lot out of necessity. Alternatively, if you have more sense than money, get yourself a Chinese clone as you really need an expensive hyped up gizmo, you just need an efficient and effective value for money system!
I've used many a different sharpening system and wasted much money in the process. It was not until I bought myself the EdgePro system that I could honestly say that it's the best a man can have! I say it now, if money is no object, then get yourself the original EdgePro professional system, you can't do better! Here's the link to the system I bought from the USA:
On the USA EdgePro website, there are many video tutorials that are very helpful and will surely prove helpful to anyone who wants to learn how to use the system. Learning for the experience of others sure beats going it alone and learn the hard way!!!
Below is the best version of the Chinese clones. It comes with a sturdy Clamping base - as opposed to the two sucker pads. It is a smaller version of my EdgePro professional model, but can b had for a fraction of the cost. This version can be bought from eBay.
The sharpening system as shown below is a clone of the 'EdgePro Apex' system. It's not as refined as the original USA made version, but it's good enough to work with. This one has two sucker pads and packs away nice and compact, so it's easy to take away with you. Also available from eBay.
On this first ever Video I made, I show how I make a knife blade using the stock removal method. Then, once I have the profile of the blade as I want it, I go on and apply the grind. in this case, a Scandi grind.
Having finished grinding the blade, I then clean it up send it off for specialist heat treating as in this instance I'm using Damasteel, hence the specialist heat treating process needed, which will include a cryogenic treatment.
Below is the actual blade, nicely finished and ready to be made up into a stunning unique knife to treasure a lifetime and then some...
Odin's Eye Damasteel knife blade
Paul (aka Frenchy) Fenech
Above - in the foreground - are a few Mk2 Guardian knife blade blanks which I ground and tidied up ready to send off for heat treatment. In the background are some Mk4 Talisman blade blanks as well.
Below are some Beaver (4mm thick) blade blanks, some ground, but not yet tidied up.
KNIFE SHARPENING AND RE-HANDLING ASSISTANCE
If you have a knife that needs the grind re-profiling or as good as new sharpening, re-handling or in need of a Sheath, just get in touch as I might be able to help.
As for payment, I'll not charge you for my time, but you'll need to cover postage both ways. I do not expect any payment unless I incur material/consumable costs in the process of sorting out your knife.
To contact me just e-mail me on paul + aka + frenchy at talktalk dot net and please make sure you put 'Frenchy's Website Communication' in the subject line or your e-mail will end up in the waste bin! I don't take shortcuts when dealing and/or being of service to you. Therefore, it's only fair that you too ought to reciprocate accordingly when dealing with me.
Knife sharpening etc. - Can I help?
Both owners of these two knives contacted me and asked for advice as they lamented the fact that they could not get their knives sharp enough. One is a Wright & Sons knife and the other is an Alan Wood knife.
As far as I'm concerned, I'd rather that folk send knives needing looking at back to where they originated from where possible.
I know of both makers and I just couldn't understand why two such quality knives would not take and hold a good sharp edge.
As it happened, once I had the knives in my hand I could see quite easily what the problems were and set about correcting them. It had nothing to do with the quality of either of the knives, but the sharpening left a bit to be desired. I just re-profiled the edge and tidied up the knives and made them as good as new.
The feedback was as follows:
Just to let you know I got my knife back yesterday which you sharpened for me, you've done an excellent job. I could see just from looking at it that it was very sharp and was even more impressed when I came to use it.
Many Thanks - Liam Brighty.
FALKNIVEN F1 knife - Before on the left and after on the right
On this other knife the grind was in quite a mess and took a while to sorting it out using Japanese whetstones. But with lots of time, patience and elbow grease I got it sorted eventually.
The photo on the left shows a used Rosselli scandi knife as received... The owner's dog had a good chew of it.
The owner requested that I change the handle and make a new Sheath fir it. This I did as can be seen in the photo on the right.
My Website hosting package has a limited capacity and therefore I cannot possible display all the knives etc., that I make or help people out with. I hope however, that enough can be gleaned from this site to give you a fair idea of what I'm about and my approach to knife making. If you have any queries, please get in touch.
Disclaimer - How I work and sourcing of materials etc...
As in any other craft work, Knife makers vary in how they go about their craft. At the top of the skill ladder are those who forge their own steel to make their knives from, as well as physically make all the fittings etc. by hand. At the other end of the scale are those who simply buy a knife kit and just put it together for fun or profit.
While I do not forge my own steel, I do make all my knives from raw flat steel that I source from certified stock holders. I make Damasteel and RWL-34 blade blanks from raw steel blanks using the stock removal system. Other blade blanks, D2 mostly, I have laser cut, which I then grind to the desired blade blank. All my blade blanks are professionally heat treating by one of the UK's top Industrial firms. Once I get the blades back from heat treatment, I process them further to make them ready to add to my stock. The finishing of the grind, I leave the end. I always strive to source all my steel from UK based Certified Companies.
The other knife making components, like Fibre liners, Mosaic Pins, Brass/Cooper/Stainless tubing/rods, Ceramic rods, Glue, Hardwoods and Micarta etc., I source from the UK and overseas. The Firesteels I actually source from the UK, along with all of my consumables. The same goes for my Veg-Tan leather. I design and make all of my own sheaths from raw veg-tan leather. I dye, decorate and hand stitch every single Sheath by hand.
So why am I including this Disclaimer? The main reason is that I feel it's only right that anyone who wishes to deal with me is aware of how I work. In my case, one can apply the 'Knife Maker' term loosely. What I am and am not, is unimportant in the scheme of things. I'd rather people judge me for the person I am, how I deal with them and what I'm able to do for them. I retain my 'hobbyist first and foremost' term on the basis that I don't have to make knives for a living. What I do, I do for pleasure and mental health therapeutic reasons. As a hobbyist first and foremost, I don't have any grand financial plans beyond the financing of my own knife making and collecting activities. Therefore, I neither need to hype my wares for the sake of gaining a monetary advantage! I'm not in competition with anyone, so much so that I'm happy to provide a link to knife makers who I admire and feel that they are worthy of support.
I'm very proud to be British and love this great Country of ours. I have served, fought and been injured in defence of our enviable way of life.
NEW - 6 Sided Super Alloy Striker - As recommended by me!
This is the highest grade striker available on the market, this striker is made from TOOL GRADE STEEL and has an excellent tough six sided edges to strike with. This handy compact striker has an exceptionally long life span that will most probably outlive quite a few Firesteel rods!
Unlike a lot of poor quality strikers, this six sided hardened Super Alloy Striker will ensure a shower of hot sparks from any quality Firesteel rods, no matter which edge you use.
A professional team took nearly 18 months to design, research, test and develop prototypes before finally making it available worldwide. Day or night, even in an emergency, with this striker having 6 striking edges, at a sharp 90 degree angle, there's never any doubt as to which striking edge to use.
Length 58mm (2 ¼ inches)
Width 17mm (3/4 of an inch)
Hardness of the Blade is over 50 Rockwell C
Compact Ergonomic handle with lanyard hole allowing you to attach it to your fire steel, key ring, dog tags, homemade bug out and survival kits and a whole host of other things.
Price is £2.50 from me and can only be ordered at the same time as part of a knife build commission.
This same striker is obtainable on eBay at £1.90 + 90p postage last time I checked.