The story of the








Up to the Mk2 version, the Talisman was made from SAE 52100 Bearing steel and Damascus steel. The new Mk3 version will be made from AISI D2 and 440c steels.   




(52100 Bearing Steel)


Here's the Mk 2 version of the ever so popular Talisman.  Basically there's more of it now and it's 4.2mm thick.  The Talisman was a tough knife, but now, being more substantial, it's even tougher than before.  The top pictures are of the Mk 2 Talisman serial #1 that I made up for myself.

















Here are the dimensions for this knife:

Overall length - 228mm

Blade length - 115mm

Handle length - 112mm

Blade thickness - 4.2mm

Widest part (at Ricasso) - 35mm

Widest part (at start of cutting edge) - 32mm

Widest part (at pommel end) - 32mm

Type of Grind - Scandi

Depth of grind - 9mm

Pin holes - 3

Lanyard Hole - 1


Along with the DL1, the Talisman has been a well proven popular knife.  It's designed as a medium to heavy duty bushcraft knife!  Although not stainless, it's easy to maintain and will not stain or rust anywhere as quickly as 01 tool steel if not meticulously maintained!  Basically, if you're not a fan of high end alloy stainless steels, like RWL-34 powder steel or similar, then 52100 Bearing steel is definitely one of the best non-stainless knife blade steels you can lay your hands on.





The MK1 Talisman has proved very popular from the outset.


Once I ran out of the MK1 blade stock, I decided to revise the profile to provide a slightly raised back and curvier cutting edge - the MK2, still in Bearing steel, came into being and was an even more of a hit then the MK1.


Unfortunately, with my good Danish friend and smithy falling ill and unable to forge more blades for me, the Talisman ceased to be.


With so many people asking me for the Talisman I felt that it was time to offer a MK3 version made from D2 steel. The difference between the MK2 and MK3 is minimal except for the D2 steel of course. I just tweaked the profile a little to give it a more robust practical look and feel.



Here's a Mk 2 Bearing Steel Talisman in Black Buffalo Horn over red fibre liners made in December 2010.




This is also my very own original 52100 Bearing Steel Talisman, serial number 01.  Handle is in Snakewood over red liners.  Sheath is of the standard type with extended loop in 3.5mm veg tanned leather that has been shaped and figured to my liking.









The bottom blade is the MK 2 version. Somewhat broader and substantial all round.







This is the last of the Talisman MK2 blades made up with a Cocobolo handle over red fibre liners secured with Mosaic pins and brass lanyard tube.


I was very happy to make this knife up, esepcially as it was the last one, because Bryan, who has had several knives off me, has commissioned this knife to gift it to a friend of his over in the USA. In my view this is treat for all three of us...


I am particularly pleased with how well figured the Cocobolo handle turned out. As with most woods, one never knows what the end result will look like after it's been worked. This one just turned out great...



All cosy in its Sheath


A close up of how nice the Mosaic pins contrast with what turned out to be a very lovely looking Cocobolo handle.






Well figured Olive wood over red fibre liners with matching Firesteel.  Sheath has the optional adjustable 'Dangler' Loop.






Both knives in Afzelia over red fibre liners with matching Firesteels.

Knife on right has plain brass pins with an enclosed type Sheath.

Knife on left has mosaic pins and Sheath has the optional adjustable 'Dangler' Loop.




(In Damascus)


Full specification details further down...



The Sheaths above are all traditional British style with a fixed length belt loop and Firesteel loop.



British style Bushcraft knife Sheath heavily oiled and waxed for extra protection..


A nice pair of combos in Black Buffalo horn. The sheaths below need a bit more work to finish them off properly.


Standard specifications of:




The Blade:


Damascus: 125 layers of ‘Tight Twist’ Damascus steel composed of 1084 high carbon steel and 15n-20 with 2% nickel.  This blade is hardened to Rockwell test 57-58 which, together with the steel composition, makes for a superior tough and very sharp edged blade.


Blade is 110mm long, 26mm wide and 4mm thick. Overall the knife is 220mm.




Bearing Steel: The blade is hand forged from raw SAE52100 Bearing steel balls/rollers and is hardened to Rockwell test 58-59.


Blade is 110mm long, 26mm wide and 4mm thick. Overall the knife is 220mm.


The Handle:


My preferred handle shape is the 'Coke Bottle' type. If required, I can alter the handle shape to suit individual tastes.


The handle scales can be any of the materials I have on this website, to special order or even your own.  However, as this is mainly a working knife, Black Buffalo horn, Antler or dense hardwoods should be considered.  If the knife is for occasional use, then any of the woods would be suitable.


The scales are epoxied over red, black or white  fibre liners and further secured by three solid brass pins.  A brass lined lanyard hole completes the handle.


The handle is oil finished with CCL traditional English Oils for a Satin finish.  A glossy oil and wax finish is available if required, but this is not as durable as the traditional oil finish.


The Sheath:


One can choose from four types of Sheaths; a standard British style with a fixed belt loop; a hybrid Brit/Scandi version as shown above or, either of the two Scandinavian style sheaths.


The British and Brit/Scandi Sheaths can be provided with a Firesteel loop fitted.  One of the Scandinavian style Sheaths comes with a Firesteel loop already integrated, but the other is not suitable for fitting a firesteel loop to.


The Sheath is made from quality veg tanned 3.5mm leather, double stitched with heavy duty strong thread. The sheath is oil and wax finished to a soft sheen.


With the Brit and Brit/Scandi sheath, a leg tie lanyard hole and a suitable length of leather thonging is available on request.


The Sheath can be finished in Brown, Black or in an Antique effect.  Whatever the finish it is fully treated with neatsfoot oil and carnuba wax mix and buffed up to a soft sheen.  The whole lot is not only durable, but is aimed at compliments the knife perfectly.


The Firesteel:


A 9mm Firesteel can be provided if required.  The handle can be made from horn or antler or, from the same materials the knife handle is made from, including a matching fibre liner!


Alternatively, the Firesteel can be provided in 'Papoose' style, but I cannot guarantee that I'll be able to make it from the same material as the knife handle. 


The last but one of the Damascus blades I made up went to Dubai!


I kept the last one for myself and will be making it up eventually

and will no doubt show it off on here.





(in 52100 Bearing Steel)


At last!  Here are the first two Talisman Blades in Bearing Steel with a 100% flat sided V Scandi grind as opposed to the very shallow Convex grind on the Damascus version...

I 've decided to serial number these blades, so the above are 01 and 02.


Most probably 01 will be for me and 02 probably for my mate Gary Wale (as if he needs any more knives...)


Top is the Talisman in Antler and the bottom one is the Guardian in Dyed Masur Birch destined for T.C..

Below you can clearly see the handle profile that is made to suit a right handed person - just like every hand made custom knife should be!.


These three Sheaths are for the above two knives and are mainly shown here as examples of the type of sheath I make for my Bushcraft type knives.

The two Scandi sheaths on the left can be worn either side.  The British style one on the right is worn on the left side, short or long according to personal preferences or conditions.


There's a very special story behind this knife and it goes like this...


Jessica wanted to give her husband Ben a nice present in May 2007 for his birthday, so she asked me to make him a knife, although she admitted to not having much of a clue.  That was overcome however, because we communicated well and eventually she settled for an antler handle over red liners and also wanted a Papoose Firesteel in antler.  Later on Jessica also wanted a firesteel with matching handle, which I obliged with.


A few days later she asked me to speed things up as her husband had bought a firesteel and a cheap knife and she was worried that waiting until May could prove disastrous.  She wanted it for Valentine Day and could I do it?


By now I was well and truly hooked on the 'plot' so I agreed and worked away at it.  I did manage to get it to her (actually her sister's so Ben wouldn't know) and her response was:

"Hi Paul! I can't believe it! It's better than I imagined it! It is absolutely perfect ... fantastic ... I can't wait to give it to Ben ... I'll be in touch when I do. Thank you, thank you!


Well, that was a good start - I was very pleased.



I haven't got a picture of the finished knife because I forgot to take one in my rush to post it off to her! 


Anyway, it's Valentine's day today and true to her word this is what she said:


"He loves it!  He absolutely loves it!  We will send you a photo as soon as we have somebody here to take one of all of us!  He is so pleased Paul... thank you for making it all that I hoped it would be! Thank you - Jessica


Call me a softie if you like, but it's hard not to get emotional when his sort of thing happens.






This one is in Black Cherry Burl with Black buffalo inserts (plugs) into which the securing brass pins where inserted.


Note the polished grind...


PF Damascus Field Knife Number 1



'TALISMAN' Project Prototypes



The blade:


This knife blade is made exclusively for me by a top bladesmith in the USA.


125 layers of ‘Tight Twist’ Damascus steel composed of 1084 high carbon steel and 15n-20 with 2% nickel.  The steel is first forged into 125 layers and then forged into a round bar.  When at welding temperature the bar is twisted like a rope and then forged back into billets of Damascus.


The Damascus is then heat treated at 1500 degrees and quenched in oil.  At this stage the Damascus is too hard and must be tempered back to a useable hardness.  This done at 400 degrees for two hours and then repeated a second time.  The blade is then ground, buffed and acid etched to bring out the beautiful Damascus pattern in the steel.


The hardiness of a blade should not be too hard as to make it brittle and liable to break easily if subjected to abuse.  However, it should be hard enough to take and hold a good sharp edge.  This blade is hardened to Rockwell test 57-58 which, together with the steel composition, makes for a superior tough and very sharp edged blade.


Blade is 110mm long, 26mm wide and 4mm thick. Overall the knife is 220mm.


The Handle:


The handle scales of the top knife are of rare Amboyna Burl (Ptercarpus indicus) from Southeast Asia. The most beautiful and expensive burl wood in the world market.  The scales are epoxied over red fibre liners and further secured by two solid brass pins.  Next batch will have three pinholes.  A brass lined lanyard hole completes the handle.  The scales for the lower knife is seasoned Stag Antler over red fibre liners.


The Sheath:


Made from best quality veg tanned 3 - 3.5mm leather, double stitched with heavy waxed strong linen thread.  The sheath is shaped and figured and comes complete with a Firesteel holder to take a 9mm steel. A lanyard hole and a suitable length of leather thonging are also included.  The Sheath is fully treated with neatsfoot oil and carnuba wax mix and buffed up to a soft sheen.  The whole lot is not only durable, but compliments the knife perfectly.


The Talisman



 Background information:


These Knives were prototypes and underwent field testing by Gary Wale of Bearclaw Bushcraft Ltd.


It took nearly 5 months to get this far with this project because I decided that there would be no compromise to the quality of the steel or handle material. A similar blade, but 3.20mm thick as opposed to 4mm thick blade, was customised in Black buffalo horn by a Sheffield Mester and sold on eBay for £317 - so now you know what these knives are comparable to in quality and class.


Result of field testing:


Minor setback initially because the knives came with a secondary bevel, which had to be ground out.  Other than this no other negative comments were reported.


I expected my knives to be treated harshly and tested to destruction even.  My knives underwent every conceivable test one would expect from comparable well known established bushcraft type knives.     


The result was a 100% positive!  Beautiful to look at and as tough as they come - what more could anyone wish for in a knife...


This knife is exclusive to me and is currently my lead knife. Gary was sufficiently sufficiently impressed to request that I make him these knives to order - and his favourite knife is now the very same antler handed one shown - enough said...



Same blade in Masur birch


This blade has now been improved and has three pinholes plus a lanyard tube and the grind, while not completely flat, is a very shallow convex one.



PF Damascus Field Knife

Number 2 - Prototypes





I finished these knives on Xmas Eve just in case Santa popped in and wanted to see some nice knives he might like towards fulfilling someone's wish or two...


Actually, I just couldn't stand having them hanging around unfinished for the sake of a final polish.  The four Scandis were made specially for me, hence each blade having a different Damascus pattern.  These blades are a bit different from the PFDFK1 even though it's not too obvious.


The little 'Rabbit'  blade was a gift from Bernie Garland (Berax).    


The Scandis are Damascus Steel - two are 220mm x 25mm x 3.96mm and two are 220mm x 25mm x 4.76mm made in the USA from 1095 and 15N20 (1075 with 2% nickel) with an RC of 56-57.


The tang is full, with three 5mm pinholes and a 6mm lanyard hole.  The handles are all epoxied with industrial strength glue over red fibre liners. 



The handle materials I used in making up these knives represent my main favourite types - Amboyna, Afzelia, Red deer Antler and Black Buffalo horn.




Knife on the left has Amboyna burl for handle scales, as is the Firesteel handle.  This blade is 3.96mm thick with a simple V grind on both sides of the blade.


The Knife on the right has Afzelia Burl for handle scales, as is the Firesteel handle. This blade is 4.76mm thick and has one single grind.  



This knife has black buffalo horn for knife scales, as is the Firesteel handle.  This blade is 4.76mm thick

with a simple V grind on both sides of the blade.



This knife has Red Deer antler for knife scales, as is the Firesteel handle.  This blade is 3.96mm thick

with a simple V grind on both sides of the blade.


These knives would have suited anyone wanting a slightly more rounded traditional type field knife with a deeper grind.  Quality of Damascus steel and handle material is top notch, similar in composition to the PFDFK1 (The Talisman).


While I enjoyed making these knives a little bit more than usual, I decided not to continue making them because they were rather similar to the 'Talisman', albeit heftier.  The Talisman design is a proven one and much sleeker, so I've opted to concentrate on making the 'Talisman'.


I still feel that there's a need for a wide bladed robust field knife, so I'll be looking to making such a knife in the near future...



PS:  Just in case you're wandering about the little Amboyna handled knife; it's a one off neck knife I made up for my wife...


The PFDFK 1 - Experiment

(Forerunners of the Talisman)


I had 4 Damascus bushcraft blades going spare that were based on the P F Damascus Field Knife Number 1 (PFDFK1) prototypes.  I wanted to do something different with them and I thought I might try and see if I can find four people who would like me to make the blades up into finished knives to their requirements from any of the materials shown on this website.


The response was amazing, I wish I had lots more blades!  I needed to find out as much as possible from the potential user because I was aiming to bring their idea to life and hopefully make them very happy when they see the result.


Each of these knife represent a person with whom I communicated in detail in an effort to make them a knife to their heart's desire.  As a consequence, the building process was that much more interesting because of the personal connection, which is something I really like to do.


As can be seen from these pictures, the finished knives look very nice and I was please with all of them.



From the left: Mark's - in Afzelia with matching firesteel; Tim's - in Buffalo Horn with matching firesteel; Geoff's - in Oliepod with matching firesteel and Peter's - in Oliepod with antler Papoose firesteel.




Well, that's the last of these blades, so the best of luck to their new owners...


I'm pleased to say that that Mark, Tim, Geoff and Peter were all very happy with their knives and communicated their appreciation like true gentlemen - thanks guys!


Talisman in Masur Birch



This Talisman belongs to Zach Thomas, from Adelaide in Australia.  I was exceptionally pleased with the way the knife turned out because the Masur Birch is the best I have ever worked with.


Talisman in Sambar Stag Antler







Three variations of the Talisman.  Bearing steel at the top; standard Damascus in the middle and small Damascus version at the bottom.





Another Damascus Talisman, this time in Antler and Horn.







Two matching Talisman Combos





This Combo is made up of A Talisman, an Opinel # 8 and firesteel.  The handles are Black Buffalo Horn over red fibre liners.


Nigel's Talisman in Sambar stag Antler

I seem to have a love hate relationship with Sambar Stag antler because to date it's been difficult getting the right quality of material to work with, but when I do manage to cut out a couple of nice slabs, the end result is always lovely.


More than with other antler types, wastage is very common when working with Sambar antler.  Out of some 20 good sized rolls, only 6 were any good to make decent knife handles with.  The rest were not of good enough quality for me to work with.


Nigel's knife was a case in point. I picked what looked like a well figured and ridged Sambar roll and proceeded to cut out two reasonably sized slabs.  This I managed well enough and went as far as actually fitting, gluing and pinning the scales onto the knife handle.  The problem came once I started to shape the scales because in the hollows, the material was pithy and too soft for me to leave it be.  The more I tried to tidy it up, the worst it looked.  I had no alternative but to take the scales off and start all over again with a new set of scales.


Some stuff you can buy 'blind', but I'll never again buy Sambar Stag antler unless I can choose it myself..



I hope that, although I haven't included photos of all the Talisman knives I made, you got a good idea of what the Talisman is about.


In my view, and that of many others, the Talisman is a damn good knife in every which way!