NEWS & NOTEWORTHY INFORMATION
I wish all who entrusted me with their knife projects and knife enthusiasts in general,
good health, contentment and inner peace for 2017 and beyond...
My way of taking on new knife build commissions is on a rolling 'Waiting List - First come, first served' basis.
At time of writing - June 2017 - the waiting time from confirmation of order is at six months. As not all knife build commissions require the same time and effort, the completion date is somewhat flexible. In all instances, circumstances permitting, I will always strive to complete knife build projects earlier than projected.
As I have to do everything, I am limited in how many commissions I can take on at any one time. Moreover, I'm a hobbyist first and foremost, as opposed to having to make knives for a living. I make knives primarily for the love of it and health related therapeutic reasons. My overall aim is to produce knives that are not only aesthetically pleasing and of a high quality, but also unique and wholly fit for their intended purpose.
24 June 2017
PS: I do not make 'One off' knives to owner
specifications. The only knives I make are those that are shown on the
1. Before contacting me, it would be
mutually beneficial if you have checked out the 'Home'
page and considered which knife model would suit your needs best. On each
knife model page, you'll also find a 'fixed price' table from which you can
calculate the all in cost of your knife according to your specifications.
There are no hidden costs to worry about - what you see, is what you pay!
2. On each knife model's page,
you'll find some examples of knives that I made, from which you can
get a fair idea of the various handle materials that are available
You might as well check out the 'Handle
Materials' page as well, as you'll need to select three different types
of handles material in preference order when completing the
ready, email me on
(please replace the at with
& and dot
with .) with your basic requirements - such
as knife model, handle material and intended end use. Please put
'Frenchy's website communication' in the subject box as
otherwise it will end up in the spam bin!
4. Once you have made contact with me
stating your basic requirements, I'll e-mail you a detailed 'Knife Build Specifications Questionnaire'
to complete. All I then require is the answers in a numbered list order to
be emailed back to me.
should you have any
questions, you can include them at this time alongside the relevant
5. Once I receive
list, I'll check it over to make sure
that I can meet your requirements.
If you have listed some queries I'll consider and respond to them as well. I may also
advise you on anything that might not be to your benefit.
However, while I offer advice, the final choice must be yours.
6. It is not until we're fully agreed agreed on the knife's build
details, that I'll able to provide you with a summary of your specifications and
relevant final costs. Some discounts may be applicable to Multiple
I hope you can appreciate, that getting it right first time is the way to go. To that end we need to communicate as necessary to make sure the details are correct and I can indeed meet your requirements. Please do remember that as much as I can advise you and suggest suitable alternatives; the final choice is always down to you - I cannot decide for you because it's your knife, for your use and enjoyment and for the pleasure that comes from owning something that is unique to you!
(aka - Frenchy) PS: Please note that I'm
unable to communicate via the phone as not only will I not get much
done, but more importantly, I
need to have a written record of everything relating to your knife
build to help ensure I don't deviate from what we agreed on.
(aka - Frenchy)
PS: Please note that I'm unable to communicate via the phone as not only will I not get much done, but more importantly, I need to have a written record of everything relating to your knife build to help ensure I don't deviate from what we agreed on.
To see archive photos of various type of knives I made to date click on respective link below...
1. How to place an order for a Custom Knife. All self explanatory.
2. What's your preferred type of grind. Here I explain the differences so you can make an informed choice.
3. What to do once you receive your knife. General details, safety, care and maintenance of your knife.
Fixed Angle Sharpening System.
Low cost excellent knife sharpening
systems now available.
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.
8. Disclaimer - How I work and sourcing of materials etc...
9. The making of the Guardian is progressing nicely. Have a look at the blade blanks in the raw.
10. 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. So please read what I have to say and choose accordingly...
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, for others however, the learning curve can be steep and frustrating.
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 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 is not for you! There's not such thing as a quick, few minutes' worth, sharpening session...
For most people who enjoy the outdoors, fishing, hunting etc., a knife with a secondary grind (bevel) tends to suit them best. This on account that this type of cutting edge is very common as most 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 a few millimetres at a steeper angle than the primary grind along its entire length. Normally, 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 primary grinds, including a zero ground Scandi type grind. The idea behind applying a secondary bevel at a steeper angle is to strengthen the cutting edge and thus make it less prone to accidental chipping. Sharpening a knife with a secondary bevel is normally much quicker than sharpening a Scandi grind and the learning curve is nowhere as steep!
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 and you'll be set up for life; not just for sharpening your custom knife, but also most, if not all your knives at home! There are some very good, but expensive ones, 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. As an alternative there are several lower cost systems, but having used several types, I've found nothing better than the USA made EdgePro/Apex system, albeit that they're quite expensive. As it so often happens, the Chinese have jumped on the bandwagon and cloned the EdgePro system and offering them for sale at silly prices. These 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.
To be fair to the Chinese made versions, I could not fault them and in one instance they even improved one version. I gave both version a good testing. I have a vested interest that any owner of one of my knives with a secondary bevel ought to be able to sharpen his knife effectively with minimal difficulty and outlay. Although it wasn't a cost effective exercise, I went ahead and ordered in some stock of both versions and thus have them available to my clients. Eventually I sold out and as prices on eBay remained steady, I suggest you check them out on eBay and source your preferred model from there.
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 cutting edge you opt for when commissioning a knife from me, 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.
General details and maintenance of your knife and Sheath...
This knife making hobby of mine means a lot to me at a personal level as I derive considerable health benefits, satisfaction, fulfilment and pleasure. I therefore hope that you too would derive as much pleasure from owning your knife as I had in making it.
Itís only natural that once youíve got your hands on the parcel I sent you, youíd want to tear it open to see and handle your knife. Well, if you do without having read what I wish to impart to you, thereís a possibility that you could hurt yourself and/or make a mess of things. So PLEASE, do us both a favour and take your time to read and take heed of the details that follow.
Your knife is primarily a cutting tool Ė it is not an axe, a chisel or a prising bar! A optimal cutting edge is only as good as how skilful you are in using the knife properly within its design parameters. You might never be able to break as robust a knife as I have made for you. But, the finer the cutting edge, the less abuse it will take before chipping if you're careless. Basically therefore, your knife will need to be used properly and looked after if it is to serve you well in the long term. I donít use magical secret potions or synthetic coatings; just quality build components, fine Oils and natural Waxes. Therefore, you should well be able to look after and maintain your knife with ease. Here are some points to bear in mind:
Finally, knives are not child or idiot proof! So donít leave your knife lying around where small children and wayward teenagers could have access to it. Your knife is a desirable object and will be pinched if left lying around and easily accessible. Always think safety first and be prudent and discreet at all times when carrying your knife. Take care and use it only as intended and donít ever show off and play the fool with a knife in your hand. Most importantly, you should always abide by the law and not carry such a knife in a public place unless you have a justifiable reason to do so! Itís always best to act correctly at all times so as not to give offense to anybody.
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 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 one like I'm offering below at far less cost than you would pay for a Lansky, Gatco or similar system. Let's put it this way, if the system I use and recommend is no good is no good, then I'm not going to risk my good reputation by offering rubbish! You don't need a fancy 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!
This neat compact version is a clone of the EdgePro Apex system from the USA. In quality terms it's not as good as the original Apex, but the price difference is considerable because the clone version is a steal around the £20 to £25 mark from eBay. It's compact and light and it comes complete with its own canvas carry bag, so you can take it wherever you might need it.
These Fixed Angle Chinese made systems can be sourced from eBay at a good price.
The one with a Clamping base - as opposed to the two suckers - is worth a bit extra as it's more stable and comfortable to work with. The one shown here -with two suckers - is good anyway and it's more compact to carry around with you. The choice is yours...
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 etc. - Can I help?
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 email@example.com 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 with you, so I expect you to reciprocate accordingly when dealing with me.
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 business. 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.
As for me, I certainly don't forge my own blades or heat treat the blade blanks I make as I'm not tooled up to do either. Some blades, mostly Damasteel and RWL-34, I make from raw steel blanks using the stock removal system and manually apply the grind prior to sending them off for specialist heat treatment. Some blades, D2 mostly, I have laser cut for me in raw profile, which I also manually apply the grind to and tidy up prior to sending them off for industrial standard heat treating. After getting the blades back from heat treatment the blades are reground and processed further to make them ready to be worked with. Some blades, 440c and Damascus mostly, I source partly finished and only need the grind attended to. On average, I source most of my steel from UK based manufacturers or Distributors, but I also source some from abroad.
The other knife making components, like Fibre liners, Mosaic Pins, Brass/Cooper/Stainless tubing/rods, Ceramic rods, Glue, Hardwoods and Micarta etc., I source mostly from abroad because that's where the best stuff is available from! The Firesteels I actually source from the UK. I also source all of my consumables from the UK. The same goes for the Sheaths and leather work. I design and make all of my own sheaths from raw veg-tan leather, which I dye, decorate and hand stitch as required. I do not buy in ready made Sheaths of any kind.
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 that I'm not an out and out top of the skill ladder type of 'Knife Maker', sweating my cobs off over a fire forging my own blades etc. For some folk, the fact that I still consider myself a 'Knife Maker' even though I'm not such a one in the traditional sense, is no big deal and they're happy to work with me regardless. To some however, I might come across as pretentious for calling myself a 'Knife Maker'. No matter though, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and as far as I'm concerned, I'd rather people judge me for the person I am, how I deal with people and what I manage to produce for them. Call me a knife builder if you like, no matter. What matters most to me is that as a hobbyist first and foremost, I don't have to make/build knives for a living, what I do, I do for pleasure and therapeutic reasons. Therefore, I am a hobbyist first and foremost and have no commercial interest beyond partly financing my own knife making and collecting hobby. Unlike some, I neither bullshit folk or hype my wares for the sake of gaining a monetary advantage! How open and honest others are is up to them. 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 praiseworthy.
From all of the above one will be able to ascertain that if one wants a custom knife that is made in the UK, then fair enough, I can make it. However, if one wants a custom knife made in the UK from completely UK made components, then one must look elsewhere as most of my materials are sourced from abroad.
I'm very proud to be British and have served, fought and been injured in defence of this beautiful and glorious country of ours. If I had the choice, I would definitely source all my materials from reputable UK manufacturers. Alas, as patriotic as I am, when it comes to knife making materials, the UK is very limited and what there is available, it's either very basic, not good value for money and/or not backed up with an excellent service provision. At times I despair at the complacency of some UK companies, as if they just can't be bothered and only do enough to get by!
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 a distinct hardness, is resistant to abrasion and will hold its cutting edges. This striker has an exceptionally long life span and will outlive anyone who buys it.
Due to a lot of poor quality strikers available the manufacturers invented this very useful tool - Firesteel Super Alloy Scraper Blade to maximize a shower of hot sparks when you scrape against our Misch Metal rods, Ferro cerium rods or Firesteel rods etc etc.
Their professional team took nearly 18 months to design, research, tests, develop blueprints to prototypes, finally to the mass production of the most effective super strikers for Firesteel: 6 striking edges, at times you may not be able to figure out which blade is up in the dark or in an emergency. With this striker no matter whether you prefer to use your left hand or right hand to scrape, the blade is square with both sides a sharp 90 degrees to give six edges of striking force.
Length 58mm (2 ľ 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 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.