Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Prybuddy and me

I have always liked gadgets, especially when they are small and useful.  I have a small collection of handmade tools along with some mass produced ones.  When I started making knives I realized that I also had the capability of making a few small tools.

My first design the Prybuddy came out of necessity.  In my day job I deal with a weather proof cabinet that is very difficult to open.  It can be opened using your fingers but after/during recuperation from chemo my nails would rip/break.  I purchased a mini prybar from an online source.  This worked except for this tool had a bend in it causing my key ring to feel bulky.  It was also just a prybar there weren't any other cool features. So I fired up the CAD program, delivered a file and some carbon steel to a friend that does laser cutting and out popped my first design.  A key sized tool that included a prybar, bottle opener, 1/4" hex drive, and the rounded end was left with the laser cut finish to be used as a ferrocium rod scraper in a pinch.  They are hand ground, heat treated, finished and the logo etched similar to one of my knives.

                                           Post heat treat

I was contacted by one of my customers about what I called this tool (I didn't know there was a reason for this question).  At that time I was calling it a tool, prybar, keychain, etc.(not very imaginative I know).  I was not able to come up with a name that was satisfying so I told Matt that if he came up with a decent name I would send him another. Thus the name Prybuddy and the YouTube video below:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A very rare knife

I was visiting a friend a couple of months ago and during the course of conversation he produced this knife.

A genuine Loveless Sushi knife.  As the story was related to me Mr. Loveless made this knife as gift for a friend/Sushi Chef.  Evidently after using the knife the chef deemed it too heavy and returned it.  Needless to say I was flabbergasted; I had no idea that such a thing existed.  Unfortunately I was only able to take pictures with my cell phone.

David Sharp

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Modern Nessmuk

Many knife makers make a version of the knife found in the book Woodcraft And Camping by George "Nessmuk" Washington Sears.  Some simplify it others try to make a spitting image complete with stag handle.  The first thing that caught my attention was that so many knife makers sold a version (I had never seen the illustration below).

I had to know more, I quickly purchased a copy of Woodcraft and Camping from Amazon and read it cover to cover (it's good to be a reader).  It seemed that Nessmuk's major tenet was simplicity or no fluff.  He seemed to gravitate towards things that were of a reasonable/useable size and utilitarian.  He describes his folder and hand axe in detail but there was not much said about the knife that bears his name.  This lack of description has led to many internet discussions about the reason behind the design (some say it doubled as a spatula or eating utensil, others say the hump may have been for scraping, others say it may have been a broken kitchen knife that was re-purposed).

With the above in mind and because I like reasonable sized fixed blades that are not "stabby" I set to work making my version; what I call my Modern Nessmuk.  I tried to keep in tact the curves of the original and the utilitarian ability (a stout point, and the curved blade).  I did venture away from the original in that I use a hollow grind and thicker steel; the original is said to have a thin blade and flat or convex grind.  I take great pains in shaping the handle for comfort; no sharp edges or flat scales. My "Nessmuk" has a nice hand filling "Coke bottle" shaped handle.  So with the above in mind the pictures below show what I came up with.

David Sharp

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Scrap Knives- The Story

As a new knife maker finances are tight and fully funded by the day job. From day one I hated the idea of throwing away steel that was too small to make a full sized, handled knife.  I was also trying to come up with a way to make my grinding skills better quickly.  I had tried the age old suggestion to grind mild steel to practice, but it did not grind the same way as a clean tool steel.

The light bulb came on, why not put that pile of scrap steel to use and make some small knives.  There was just two rules; they had to have a three finger handle or better and they must come from scrap.  If there wasn't any suitable scrap there would be no Scrap Knives. Thus started my "Scrap Knife" line.  I have since made 16 Scrap Knives; no two have been alike (helps keep the creative/artistic juices flowing).  I put the same care and effort into them as I would a full size knife.

They have simple skeleton handles and come with a leather pocket sheath about the size of a credit card with the thickness of a thin wallet.  All are marked "Sharpwerks" on the left side and more recently I have started adding "Scrap" to the right side.  Some of the varied features are fully radiused edges, thumb jimping on some, copper accents, cold blue finish, and different blade patterns.

Monday, October 3, 2011

California Custom Knife Show...the day after.

I got through the show unscathed; it was a really good weekend.  I was re-acquainted with some original customers and met a number of people from the different forums I frequent:



Everybody was very kind and encouraging.  I was able to catch up and thank both Thad Buchanan and John Young and get some criticism of my work.  I will only say I am currently trying not to get a big head.  Their comments were encouraging to say the least.

The show organizers did an excellent job on choosing the location (a whole lot better than last year).  I am not sure how they chose the table assignments but I ended up next to my good friend Robert Scheppmann (a literal neighbor and knife maker coincidentally) which made the show that much better!  I also had the benefit of having my wife with me on Saturday and my brother on Sunday (it is excellent to have a family that cheers you on).

The downside of attending knife shows as a maker is the fact that you don't get to peruse the show and other makers offerings as thoroughly as one would wish.  I guess the upside, you can't spend any money. 

My first sale Saturday: