An Overabladeance

I have not made a knife for several months now, but that does not mean I was not working on knives. Below the fold is most of what I have done and also a bit about what I intend to do with it in the future.

BTW, I would appreciate it if you let me know something about your favorite knife if you have one. Almost everyone has, even when they are not “into” knives in particular.

An Ovrabladeance © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I have concentrated my resources towards making as many knife blades as possible during the summertime. The goal is now, when the weather is colder, to make the wooden parts and use scraps and cutoffs to heat my workshop whilst doing so. Then, when it gets colder still, I shall retreat into my house and make the fancy leatherwork etcetera.

Santoku blade. © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

It is not my goal to make Japanese-style kitchen blades. Not that I think they are bad, but they are not to my taste. However I had three cut-offs that just lent themselves to making santoku-like blades, so I have made them.

Chef knives. © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The primary goal to make from those pieces of steel were these three chef knives. The first one is a bit botched, as you can see on the irregular edge. It will be corrected during sharpening, but it is something to look out for future – the blade thickness is not entirely consistent. The knife will have a bit odd shape no matter what I do now, but it will be a superb cutter all the same and maybe it will find a home.

Rounded tip universal kitchen knives © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Pointy universal kitchen knives © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Then there are six universal kitchen knives of my signature design, three with rounded tips and three pointy. The rounded ones were supposed to go in set with the chef knives and some peelers, but I have changed the positioning of numbers on those without realizing its implications, so now I have to make these three standalone blades.

Peeling knives © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Then the peelers of course. These three will go in two-piece sets with the pointy universal knives. I am mulling over whether to make them all with jatoba wood or whether to mix it up and make three different sets. Both approaches have something for them and something against.

Puuko © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I do hope to not incur the wrath of the Finnish with these. I have decided to make two “rustic” puukko out of stainless steel, which is not exactly easy. I did not grind the flat sides at all, I only tumbled the blades as long as it took to take the scale off them. That has left the blades with a rough surface. Accordingly, the bevels are not polished but only ground to 120 grit. This was essentially an exercise in trying to make a still appealing blade as cheaply as possible. But it made etching the logos and especially the numbers difficult since it is not possible to get that fine detail on the rough surface.

Drop point boot knives © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Speaking of exercise in making cheapo-blades, I have also made these four. The upper two are going to be the easiest-to-make knives that I think are still worth doing and the lower two are badger knives but only sand tumbled and not polished.

Fullered big blades © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

That being said, I in no way intend to only make cheapo knives. These two blades you have seen before – mirror-polished fullered blades. And very big blades at that. The lower one has a bit of asymmetry in the fullers, but I still think it is a worthy blade. I have big plans for both, fancy handles, fancy leatherwork.

Bowies © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Then there are two bowie-type blades, first one of my standard making, about eleven cm long, and then a really big one, although not perhaps still not big enough for Crocodile Dundee. I do not have too fancy plans for these, but the mirror polish does command at least some fanciness.

Semi skinners © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

And last my favorite type of knife – slightly curved blades, semi-skinners. I find these most aesthetically pleasing and also very good cutters.  The lowest blade is an old design that I have made in 2000 and now decided to re-make from high-quality steel. The middle one is just an ordinary drop-point profile, but with a different type of grind, which is not unfortunately visible on this picture, But it is visible on the upper blade, which is my favorite one in this whole bunch. The ridge goes from the ricasso towards the point because the blade does not have flat sides. They taper towards the tip in a way to make the ridge run from ricasso close to the tip and not parallel to the edge like in most of the knives here. I could not find an official name for this type of grind in my literature, the closest was the so-called shobu-zukuri grind of Japanese swords. I call the grind “feather” in my head because the blade has some resemblance to flight feathers (remiges) of birds of prey. I love this blade, it is nimble and light and has the potential for being truly great. I do have great plans for this one, fancier than fancy woodwork and fancier than fancy leatherwork.

PS. – I had a consultation with an accountant/tax consultant, so I know how to make my paperwork now. It is surprisingly simple for my kind of work and no extra software is needed, I can do my paperwork in open office. So the only thing that I need to stop procrastinating now is to buy a domain and start a simple webshop.

PPS – I almost forgot these three. They are numbered, but they are experimental and I am not sure whether or not sell them when they are finished.

Experimental design © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.


  1. Jazzlet says

    I don’t have a favourite blade as it rather depends what I’m doing, however I adore the tiny blade Marcus made for me and use it pretty much every time I cook, for anything that requires you to hold the food in your hand. Today it was peeling some garlic and deseeding some chillies. I also love what I think is a filleting knife, slightly whippy and great for getting the skin off meat or fish. I love my cleaver for hard food that needs to be chopped open and up like squash, and for chopping herbs, garlic, ginger etc., though depending on quantity I might use my largest cooks knife which has a good balance for slicing, and for holding the tip for fine chopping of herbs. Like I say it depends. And that’s just my cooking knives (well some of them, my collection has got rather out of hand).

  2. kestrel says

    My favorite type of knife is the one you are calling a semi-skinner. I like the center one, and also the top one. I did not know the right name for these; I knew the ones I’ve liked had a drop point. The knives I’ve had like that held an edge and were really easy to sharpen. They were stout and quite serviceable. I use a knife almost every single day, mostly to cut open a bale of hay or something like that. But in the past, I’ve used them for skinning and butchering and felt that they were really sturdy and sharp for that type of work. I used to carry one with me in a belt sheath.

    I have a folding Case pocket knife I keep with me at all times. It’s shaped somewhat like your Bowie knives. It’s a great shape for a knife. That little pocket knife is an amazingly useful tool. I misplaced it once and was devastated, believing it was lost, but fortunately found it again.

  3. Ice Swimmer says

    The puukko blades are recognizable as such. They just need handles with no quillons, bollocks or protruding pommels (ferrules are fine). I think stainless steel is somewhat heretical, but I think the proof of a puukko is whether you can carry out the traditional tasks with it. Can you make firelighters (thin shavings ) from dry wood or a willow flute from a fresh willow stalk? Would it cut quickly horse harness if the horse is in danger of choking because of an accident? Can you cut and eat pieces of fish or smoked pork belly with it?

    I’m not a real expert on the matter and it’s been a while since I’ve read anything on the subject (perhaps I should revisit the “Puukko” book by Sakari Pälsi and read the “Puukot” (plural of puukko) book by Jukka and Mikko Kemppinen).

  4. lochaber says

    Now that I’ve had an okay job for a bit, and am not-terrible financially, I’ve been considering looking for a knife show, and maybe commissioning a folder to my tastes, if I can’t find one already made that I like. But despite being in a pretty blue/democratic/liberal area, there is a lot of overlap twixt knife people, gunpeople, and rad hat MAGAts, and I really don’t want to interact with them if I don’t have to. And, at this point, I feel like I can’t just separate “whatever” from “politics” and buy something without considering who produced it. And then there is the whole covid thing… It’s probably not a great idea for me to willingly immerse myself in a sea of aggressively offendable idiots who may be prone to violence, when I’ve got a literal tan line on my face from wearing a mask… So, maybe next year?

    I really like a recurve blade -- for a while, the old Benchmade McHenry&Williams 710 was my daily carry, and I loved it, although I’d like a bit more of a stronger recurve. I tried one of the Emerson Commanders, but I don’t like the “wave” thing that catches on the pocket and partially opens the knife. I can open it just fine via the thumb stud/disc/hole, and that just seems to me to be an injury waiting to happen. And I’d rather something with a bit more of an acute point. I kinda wonder why recurves aren’t more popular, I think the most common argument I hear is about sharpening, but I feel that’s only an issue if you are really dedicated to only using a benchstone or similar. I’m a big fan of the Spyderco Sharpmaker, so for me there is no notable difference twixt shaprening a recurve blade vs any other blade.

    For fixed blades, I’m partial to slab-handle drop points -- I feel that they can be nearly as strong as a tanto point, but they are still useful for a lot of random tasks like whittling and stuff, without that weird secondary angle/point. I just don’t get out into the wilderness as much anymore, and that’s about ~90% of the situations where I’d be carrying/using a fixed blade. When I do get out, I have one of the old Chris Reeve one-piece hollow-handle fixed blades that I’m rather fond of. I’ll grant that a perfectly circular handle maybe isn’t ideal, but so far it hasn’t been too much of an issue, and it’s a nice bonus that there aren’t any tiny little gaps or crevices on the handle/blade/guard, so cleaning it thoroughly is remarkably easy for any situations where there is concerns about that sort of thing.

    Anyways, that’s a pretty impressive amount of blades, and it looks like a lot of work. I don’t often comment, but I almost always read and appreciate these posts, and look forward to the future ones.

  5. says

    @Jazzlet, looks like you have got quite a collection indeed. Most people that I know have several knives in their kitchen, but they have one that they use for 90% of work and the specialist ones they use only when absolutely necessary.

    @kestrel, skinning, and butchering are actually tasks for which the semi-skinners are ideal, as the name suggests. I do share your opinion that they make good all-purpose knives.

    @Ice Swimme, sorry for the blasphemy. I do have high-carbon steel, but I am more experienced working with N690 and I also think that it is a superior material for knives of this size. Once finished, I shall test whether the knife is suitable for the tasks presented, except the last three ones :-) because I am tone deaf, do not have a horse in danger and do not like smoked fish or pork belly. I would love to read those books too, but they are not available in CZ or EN to me :-(. Well, one cannot get everything. I will at least use birch wood and birch bark for the handle, but I cannot use reindeer bone, will have to make do with cow.

    @lochaber, knife shows here in Europe are probably not as infested by gunpeople as they are in the US, but there is still significant overlap. Which is a shame, because, unlike guns, knives are genuinely useful in everyday life and to everyone and there is no reason why they could not be enjoyed by us SJW as well. I would love to make a knife to your tastes, but I am not yet at a stage when I could make a folder. I am gathering off-cuts that are not big enough for fixed-blade knives but still big enough for small folding pocket knives, but whether I get to a point to actually make folding knives someday has a big question mark in front as well after it. It definitively requires skills that I do not have right now.
    As far as sharpening, the only recurves that are difficult to sharpen on a whetstone are inverted knives, like kukris. Skinners and semi-skinners are just as easy to sharpen as straight knives, at least for me.
    Round handle is a big no-no for me. IMO it is very, very poor design for a knife.

    @Marcus Ranum, thank you. I am in fact worrying that I have not been busy enough, the plan was to make 50 blades before September and I achieved just shy of 40 at the end of it.

  6. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 6

    It’s all right, it’s your interpretation of puukko. Reindeer bone is by no means necessary. Cow bone must have been used more than reindeer bone outside the reindeer herding zone. Most of the reindeer herding zone was and is in Lapland, where they have the beefier leuku*, which has a thick and wide longish blade and a pommel. Of course, the forest reindeer did exist** in southern Finland before getting almost extinct and it was an important game species as long as it was abundant.
    * = Leuku can be used much like a billhook or machete with (frozen) tree branches or shrubbery and for splitting reindeer bones, to access the delicious and fatty bone marrow.
    ** = The population is slowly recovering, but it’s still near threatened.

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