Welcome to the third edition of Australian Blade and the last for 2017.
This year’s been a busy one in the Australian knife community. For the first time, the American
Bladesmith Society held an introduction course over two weeks at Eveleigh Works in Redfern, Sydney.
We’ve seen some outstanding knife shows held in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and one is about to be
held in Canberra. In regional locations, handmade Australian knives are exhibited at local agricultural
shows and markets. Right across the country, knifemakers and knife aficionados gather informally to
hold our own private workshops and exhibitions, accompanied by backyard cooking and ice cold
beverages. Blades, Beer, Bundy and Bar-B-Ques - Living the Dream!
But despite the distances that divide us, we are a united lot for several reasons. One factor that binds
us is the willingness of members of the Australian knife community to chip in and help one another. I
choose the term “Australian knife community” deliberately to include not only knife makers, but
knife aficionados and others who willingly contribute, assist and support knifemakers in our fields of
endeavor. We have world class makers like Steve Filicietti, Peter Del Raso, Bruce Barnett and Keith
Fludder all assisting us lessor mortals with advice and techniques. Aficionado and collector Andrew
Smith works behind the scenes assisting makers and at the Sydney Knife Show. Michael Masion,
another aficionado and collector publishes Australian Knife and found it within his heart to provide
all the Adelaide show photos for this issue of Australian Blade! Such willingness to help and share
demonstrates just how healthy our Australian knife community is and bodes well for our future. Last
and by no means least and as Peter Del Raso acknowledges in his article, there are some supportive
and understanding the knife widows out there.
So to all these folks – thank you! Your contributions are noted and you are valued!
I'm very pleased to advise that ABS Master Smith and 17th Generation Yoshimoto Bladesmith, Mr
Murray Carter accepted an invitation to write an article exclusively for this edition of Australian
Blade. Mr Carter is well known and respected at an international level and would have to be one of a
handful of authorities on Japanese bladesmithing, outside of Japan.
This issue covers the Adelaide Knife Show, which for the
past 25 years has been hosted by Peter and Maxine Bald.
That must be some sort of record and is a very fine
The last edition of Australian Blade fare-welled Perth
bladesmith Jack O'Brien. That edition also featured a
marlin handled Bowie by Joseph Bethune (pictured
right) protégé of Australian knifemaking pioneer,
George Lee Sye. We understand that since the last
edition, Joseph has crossed Bifröst and now joins Jack
and George. Our sincere condolences to Joe's family and
Hammer fast, grind hard!
QMAC Stories…………................................4 to 8
Murray Carter on Cold Forging……….........9 to 11
Adelaide Knife Show………………….......12 to 15
Scott Broad……………………………......16 to 19
Peter Del Raso ……………………............20 to 24
Heat Treating by James Johnson ……........25 & 26
Phil Edwards……………………………...27 to 30
Book Review – Bladesmithing with Murray
Knife Laws …………………………….…32 to 33
Work in Progress by Chris Harriss. Blade steel is Sandvik 12C27. Handle is desert rose flowers cast in resin
Queensland Metal Artisan's Collective
Going to the dark side…
Note - Sometimes all it takes is for something to
catch your eye and your interest to bring on a journey.
Some journeys take place in a Maserati, and others in a
horse and cart. But sooner or later, those that are
predisposed to the unfortunate obsession with knives either
spend a fortune collecting them, or they spend the
equivalent on the elusive art of making them.
Since the formation of QMAC almost a year ago, I have become aware that all of our members have a
story. It’s clear that although years may pass, the passion for the craft may subside to a single coal, the
right circumstances can bring it raging back in a surprisingly short time.
Dion’s story: A knifemaker re-booted
The second knife I forged, first attempt at chef’s knife (I’m not showing anyone the first!!!) 5160 – done
about 8 months ago, still busy polishing.
A long, long time ago (about 31 years to be a little more specific) , in a galaxy, or at least a continent,
country and culture far, far away (Zimbabwe to be precise) while going through some significant
adjustments in his life, a young man came across the path of three guys at a local agricultural show who
made knives. Life was about to change for the better!
Unable to secure employment after leaving school, having moved to a new city and exceedingly short
of friends this meeting was life changing. Friendships forged and I started to make knives!!! I
clearly remember, under the mentoring of my mate Steve Wilde (now in Mackay) I learned how
grind, file, heat treat (using a forge made from an old lorry rim), polish, fit handles and brass, make
the odd sheath (all stock removal). Life was good! But, things were about to change.
Between a car accident which injured Steve’s shoulder leading him to close his knifemaking business,
me getting gainful employment (as a trainee in the computer division of a bank – which meant shift
work, a 6 day work week and studies) and, most significantly, the entry of a young lady into my life.
ack to the young lady. I am of farming stock and, even though many of my school holidays
spent on my grandparent’s dairy farm and I could milk a cow better than any of them, I was that
I would inadvertently leave some one off –
big thank you.
Alas, knifemaking came to an end. At least for a long while.
lowest life form at the bottom of the food chain - a “townie”! I was dating their younger daughter.
However; all was not lost.
Two small things made a big difference. First, I taught their daughter how sharpen a knife better than
any of her uncles, cousins, brothers could and second, for Christmas, I gave her younger brother, one of
the early skinners I had made.
Fast forward 30 years and half a world away.
After years of work, raising boys, studies,
travel and resettling to Australia. I have no
idea how, but we've ended up at the knife meet
at Graham and Gill’s home that became
QMAC. It’s been like coming home. So
much to learn and re-learn. What an
incredible bunch of the most helpful people,
passionate about what they do. If I had to list
the names of those who have freely given time,
materials and expertise the list would be long
I would also like to acknowledge the
enthusiastic support of a certain farm girl.
The first knife I ever made (yes, the drop
point is Loveless inspired), the steel is EN45
(from an old car spring – we used what we
could) unfortunately it spent the best part of
12 years in its sheath before I was reunited
with it recently and has some corrosion.
QMAC Note - We must not forget, the art of knifemaking has as
much impact on wives and partners than on any passionate golfer
and has possibly more capacity to turn them into fantasising about
putting their dearly beloved’s produce to good use. Tip to all
a couple of practice runs, ensure that one of
your first priorities is to make a chef’s knife for her. She won’t care
what it looks like, she will be comforted by the fact that somewhere
in this all-consuming obsession you thought of her.
Move over golfing widows - memoirs of a knife makers
Many years ago a foreign princess met a foreign prince – he was a “townie” and she was a farmers’
daughter, but he made knives, so therefore, they reluctantly accepted him into the fold.
Fast forward 30 years on, after a 25 year break in the hobby to earning a proper living to raise two boys,
and in the land down under, she finds herself learning about a passion that she once thought was gone
underground, but is fiercely alive.
Now, she finds herself surrounded by deep and meaningful discussions about:
Needle files - pictures of badly done cross-stitch come to mind
Blowers - 80’s hair-do’s coming back?
Thermocouple’s – kitchen utensil?
Linishers – electric lint removal tool?
Stock removal – moving cattle to another part of the property?
The princess can now impress the nerds in the IT department with tales, accompanied with impressive
images on google, of handmade knives that the prince has promised to make after many shopping sprees
spurred on by conversations with QMAC knife makers.
The fellow knife makers resemble a bunch of Vikings and she has never seen a more committed motley
bunch with so much passion for fire, brimstone, 5160 and other steels.
Many bedroom conversations revolve around future projects in the workshop, to the point that it was
even suggested she change her fitness regime from pole dancing to anvil dancing – really the imagination
of a besotted knife maker.
received my first knife over forty five years ago, and almost
QMAC Note - When listening to the stories of other members in
our club, it is interesting to see that the art of knifemaking can be
a consistent and lifelong journey towards the nebulous goal of
immediately sought to improve upon it, constantly working on
design. Many of my school hours were spent sketching ideas out
when I should have been listening to my teachers.
Spending many hours fishing, camping and hunting showed me what worked and what could be
improved upon. Studies in Western Fencing styles with my father, then later in many Eastern Martial
Arts, lead to more ideas. Knives I owned were modified. Prototypes were made in cardboard,
plywood, timber, whatever scraps I could scavenge.
Trying to find the perfect knife eluded me constantly. The only way was to make what I wanted
myself, but I did not find anyone willing to teach me at that time.
At the same time, 1000km from where I lived, the pioneer of the modern Australian Knifemaking
movement was struggling with similar concepts about knifemaking. I never met George Lee Sye, did
not in fact learn about him until about 15 years later, but a quote attributed to him "There is no point
owning a custom knife unless it is better in every way than a factory made knife" perfectly described
what I was striving for.
During the 80's I subscribed to various American knife orientated magazines. I learnt a lot from them,
and will always be grateful to the people who produced them, but also realised I did not want to fall
into the trap of making what was trendy, or copy a popular maker's work.
It was also about 1982, that I bought my first straight (cutthroat) razor, and taught myself to shave.
Crudely and painfully, and with no knowledge of proper razor maintenance and sharpening.
Over time I began to set up a workshop in rented properties where I lived, and began the slow and
painful progress of teaching myself. My workshop was broken into and my tools stolen a few times.
Many times I would have given up if not for the support and encouragement of my parents, and later
when i was fortunate enough to meet her, my wife. Today my children have joined my wife in being
my greatest support and encouragement.
Today there is a world of information available to everyone on the Internet on both knifemaking and
straight razor shaving. It is just a matter of sorting through it to find the truth and avoid the opinions of
"armchair experts" and those who just do not yet have enough experience to understand the many facets of
The Queensland Metal Artisan’s Collective has been a wonderful encouraging group of like-minded
people with a wealth of varied knowledge that all the members share freely.
I have now been producing my own knives for nearly 20 years and have learnt a lot. Some I forge, some I
make via stock removal. All are made to be used. I utilise a variety of materials for handles ranging
through natural and synthetic. Blade steels I have also used a large variety of, but have found that modern
steels are such reliable, consistent steels that take and hold superior edges if treated correctly, that I only
use a couple depending on the nature of the knife, and whether it is a forged or stock removal piece.
Favourites are W2 and 1075 for forging, and RWL34 for stock removal.
The majority of the knives I make are for kitchen use. Everyone needs a kitchen knife. I still like to make
camping and hunting knives as well, as I simply enjoy them. I have also expanded into making straight
razors. Often, but not always, my razors are expanded into sets where I make a paddle strop and shave
brush to go with them.
At this point in my life I do not take custom orders, but make pieces as I feel moved to, and then make
them available for sale on my table at knife shows. All my original work bears my maker's mark and
comes with a certificate of origin. They are made to be heirloom pieces - something you can use for a
lifetime and then leave to the next generation to be used.
Today I live in Queensland with my loving Family. I am a member of The Queensland Metal Artisans
Collective and a probationary member of The Australian Knifemakers Guild. I consider myself a spare
time maker and pay attention to detail, so have no specific volume targets. I make one piece at a time by
hand, each one unique.
Still searching for that perfect knife. Life is good.
On Cold Forging
ABS Master Smith and 17th Generation Yoshimoto Bladesmith Mr Murray
Carter writes exclusively for Australian Blade on cold forging.
Article and photos by Murray Carter
The term “cold forging” refers to the deformation of steel at temperatures below the recrystallization
point, above which would be called hot forging. In traditional Japanese bladesmithing, blades are
commonly cold forged by hammer at room temperature after annealing but before the quenching and
subsequent tempering process.
After having forged and completed over 25,000 blades during my 30 year career, I have come to identify
four distinct purposes of cold forging: to flatten, to finish, to shape and to refine. These four goals must be
balanced with the real possibility of damaging the steel from over working it. I recommend that the
bladesmith cold forge one knife out of a batch of similar knives to the point of failure (cracking) to
discover where the threshold is for that particular steel type. The remaining blades can then be cold forged
just shy of the failure point for best results.
The most basic result of cold forging is that the thicker, or protruding areas, get hammered down to the
thinner, or lower portions of the blade which results in the flattening of the blade. Systematic hammering
over the whole blade will result in an attractive, smooth surface finish that will not need to be ground or
polished on the finished blade. Minor widening and curvature can be added to the blade, i.e., more
hammering can be done to the cutting edge of a blade to curve it upwards like a scimitar, or more
towards the spine of a blade to curve it down like that of a sickle or kopis shape. Lastly, the hammering
of the blade after annealing results in blades that have better balance between edge sharpness, edge
retention and ease of sharpening.
It is important to see cold forging as a significant contribution to the overall final performance of a
blade, but rendered meaningless if ideal forging, annealing, quenching and tempering procedures are not
realized. Like a champion in figure skating, a perfect score is only realized when the performance is
flawless from start to finish.
ABS Master Bladesmith
17th Generation Yoshimoto Bladesmith
2038 NW Aloclek Drive #225
Hillsboro, Oregon 97124
Adelaide Knife Show - 25 years old!
Article by Peter Bald, photos by Michael Masion
This year the Adelaide Knife Show celebrated its 25th Anniversary! The Adelaide Knife Show was the first
knife show in Australia and has continued to be one that is supported by knife makers both experienced and
new to the game. The knife show is held at the Arkaba Hotel at Fullarton in South Australia and happens in
the first weekend of November each year.
This year we had 32 exhibitors displaying hand made knives, factory made knives and an extensive range of
knife making supplies from steels to grinding machines. One of the big supporters of the show is Corin
Urquhart from Gameco, his company supplies the biggest range of knife making materials in Australia and
brings so many supplies to the show that he has a truck parked in the car park of the Arkaba from which
people can purchase their knife making requirements.
The Saturday morning of the show is a very busy
time; we start with the knife awards where the knife
makers are asked to submit knives into five different
categories (Forged, Hunter, Chef’s, Utility and
Folder) and then the knife makers themselves are
asked to vote on which knife they believe to be the
best in each category. Being judged by your peers
has been the recognised method of assessment for
many years. This task may sound easy but in reality
it offers quite a challenge. As the years pass the
standard of knives submitted for judging has steadily
improved to the point where very close inspection of
the smallest details is necessary to separate one from
another in terms of quality.
This all happens before the doors are open to
the public. This year’s winners were Peter Del
Raso (Hunter and Utility), Jason Weightman
aka Towball (Forged), Peter Bald (Folder) and
Warrick Edmonds (Chef).
The doors opened at 9:00 AM and a steady stream
of highly excited knife lovers flowed in. We were
well and truly underway! The anticipation of
being able to pick up and closely inspect
wonderful examples of finely crafted knives was
evident on everyone’s face, knife sales were
happening all around the room and there was a
buzz of excitement in the air.
This year we had an additional award provided by
“Australian Knife Magazine” for the sharpest knife at
the show. Fundamentally the test involves measuring
the amount of force required for the knife to cut a
very fine filament. The device is called a Bess
Sharpness tester. Mike Masion and Tim Love were
very busy throughout Saturday testing vast numbers
of knives to determine their sharpness.
The winner of this completion was Peter Bald
with a Damascus san mai chef’s knife that
scored 35 which is in the range of double edged
razor blades. The blade of that knife had been
forged and heat treated by Barry Gardner of Jam
Factory / Seppeltsfield Winery fame.
Saturday was very busy and quite intense at
times with people four and five deep at many
of the tables and in reality that Saturday was
probably the busiest that we have had in the
history of the show! Sunday morning started
off predictably quiet (Adelaide being the city
of churches and all that…..) but it got going
and provided another good day for all
concerned. The tally of knives sold never got
fully completed however the records show
that well over a hundred hand made knives
were sold and a very large number of factory
knives and in particular folding knives.
Feed back from participants and the
visitors alike were very positive and
without exception all of the people I
have spoken to have said that they are
looking forward to next year’s show.
That being said I will continue to
convene the Adelaide Knife Show
while the enthusiasm and preparedness
of knife makers to participate
I would like to thank everyone who
showed an interest in the show and
supported us in any way, our Facebook
page went ballistic leading up to and
during the weekend of the show and
the “Adelaide Knife Promotions” team
is already underway with preparations
for the next year’s event.
Thanks to everyone…
Eye for Detail
Introduction by Chris Harriss, article and photography by Scott Broad
The Flinders Ranges comprise the largest mountain range in South Australia. The Adnyamathanha ("hill
people" or "rock people") are the Indigenous Australians who have lived in the Ranges for tens of
thousands of years and still reside there today. The Ranges are steeped in Adnyamathanha mythology.
"St Mary's Peak is called Ngarri-Mudlanha. Ngarri means 'mind', Mudlanha means
'waiting'. We're never allowed to go up there because it's Ngarri-Mudlanha - 'waiting to
take your mind'. 1
The Ranges stretch over 430 kilometres (265 miles) from Beetaloo in the south to the dry salt lake country
of Moolawatana in the north. The region experiences summers usually exceeding 38 °C (100 °F) and winter
days that peak around 13–16 °C (55–61 °F). Rainfall is erratic at around 250 mm (9.8 in) annually, with
most of it falling in winter.
This is the part of Australia that knifemaker Scott Broad hails from. Scott’s a part time maker with an
incredible eye for detail. Every now and again you come across a maker whose work stands out above the
rest. Scott is of that ilk. Scott’s knives are so highly prized that periodically he has to close his order book.
The following is his story.
1. Joe McKenzie, Adnyamathanha elder quoted in Charms of the serpent by Max Anderson, http://www.traveller.com.au/charms-
"Well, living in the Mid North Flinders Ranges, hunting
was something that was always going to be in my blood
and you can't successful hunt without a good knife. My
passion for custom knives really started many years ago.
I remember as a child walking passed a shop looking in
the window and thinking 'Wow look at those handmade
knives! They are just incredible! How nice would it be to
have something like that while out hunting?'
But they cost so much."
"About twenty five years later in my thirties and I was still
heavily into my hunting. I thought “Bugger it! That's
something I want to get into!” My father still had the business
card of a knife maker in Adelaide by the name of Peter Bald.
So I contacted Peter. I didn’t know it at the time but this man
would not only become a good friend and true mentor, but
someone who's fit and finish still inspires today."
hours’ drive from the city - well over the years I’m proud to say I have had
"Living in the Mid North Flinders Ranges has its challenges. I’m quite a
drive from most other makers so catch ups are a rare thing. Being four
to work a lot of stuff out myself through trial and error. But you don't learn
if you don't try!"
"The all-round hunting knife is still my true passion today but living where they call the outback meets
the sea, I have over the years branched into filleting knives, station knives and butchers knives."
Click here to see Scott flex testing one of his filleters.
"Probably the most common steel I use is ATS34,
CPM154 and 154CM. I've found these three to have
great machining quality but most of all good edge
retention. I'm now predominantly running with
CPM154. I find this steel very nice to hand finish
and will produce a stunning mirror finish. My knives
are all professionally heat treated by Hill’s in
Melbourne to around 59-60rc plus a cryo treatment."
"I must admit, I do love a nice piece of burl
wood! I'm a true believer the knife has to
be just as beautiful to the eye as in the
hand. Over the years I mainly used
Honduran Rosewood, Arizona Ironwood
and many others but think if I had my pick
the Rosewood is most spectacular."
"I’ve always had inspiration by makers like Peter Bald, Rob Brown, Bob Loveless, Thys Meades, and Peter
Del Raso, purely through their pride in fit and finish and attention to detail. Fit and finish is something I
pride myself on I like to have that attention to detail and have always try to challenge that on every knife
with passion and pride."
Just for fun Scott drives trains across outback Australia and
features here on Discovery Channel incorrectly named
"Jamie Warren". Click here
Peter Del Raso
Article and photos by Peter Del Raso
Hello to all the blade connoisseurs out there and many thanks to the Editor for inviting me to
contribute to this issue of Australian Blade. As well as a few words about me, I hope what
follows serves a retrospective overview of knifemaking in Australia as I have experienced it
over the last 25 years or so, and how much things have changed.
Like most makers my interest in knives started as a boy. A steady TV diet of Pirates, Tarzan,
Shintaro, and Cowboy and Indians will do that to a kid. I remember my first holy grails were a
selection of Puma knives displayed in the front window of Complete Angler. Living just
around the corner, that shop was a wonderland for a nine year old. Knives, guns, fishing
tackle, and spearfishing gear…..pure Heaven. Add to that my own shotgun at 14, a love for
camping, an over developed obsession with fishing, and you have the perfect recipe for an
unavoidable lust for the perfect knife.
My patterns today still include what most people regard as hunting and camping knives but I
prefer higher end designs. They are more challenging to build but also far more satisfying
when they are done. There are a handful of folders and a few forged blades out there, but I
would realistically have to say I am a stock removal maker of stainless fixed blade knives.
I made my first knives in my early teens but didn’t fully invest myself until my early thirties.
A chance encounter with a copy of “Blade” magazine in 1992 pretty much tipped me over the
edge. Reading it over and over I decided “I’m going to have a crack at this”. With that
magazine as my only source of information I set about building a grinder. Thanks to an
Industrial Design Degree, that wasn’t too much of a stretch. Dodgy welds and all, it’s still the
same grinder I use today.
Blade steel was off-cuts of Bohler K110 (D2) and 420C scrounged from a machine knife
manufacturer. They were also kind enough to help me with heat treat. I took my first five
knives to a Gun Show as I had been told there would be knifemakers there. Up until then I
had no idea there were other people making knives. To say I was a little overwhelmed by the
work I saw is one hell of an understatement. Most of them were Australian Knifemakers
Guild members and many of them founding members. Later I learned most were the who’s
who of makers in Australia and had an average of twenty years’ experience. I can’t help but
feel they were cheated by their era. I think it’s a shame the internet was still in nappies and
they missed out on the opportunity to have their work seen by the world.
To their credit they were very gracious and welcoming considering they had never laid eyes
on me before. One, Bruce Crawley, even invited me to his shop to run over a few things with
me. Next thing I knew I was being told I had to join the Guild. Also the first ever Guild Show
(1993) was only a few months away and I needed to build as many knives as I could to
display there. Awestruck and having no idea what I was getting into, like a putz, I agreed.
Looking back now it was the best “worst” decision I ever made. I learnt heaps really fast. A
few years later in 1999, Bruce and I travelled to Blade Show in Atlanta where we both sold
well and set up some great contacts. A week later we followed up with a second show in St
Louis where we both picked up a swag of awards. We joked with the American makers they
were probably going to lynch us in the carpark but they replied we deserved them and
obviously they had to lift their game. That was a great day.
I refer to those first ten to fifteen years as the Dark Ages. So far removed from what’s
available today and so much harder to get started. Machinery, materials, and information
were very thin on the ground. Like me, most guys had to build their own grinders. Popular
steels and handle materials all had to be shipped from the States. The only instructional
information to be had was in a few books. The only thing we could buy cheaper in the States
was grinding belts. Including shipping they were still half the price of buying them here.
Setting up today is still not cheap, but if you have the coin you can be up and running in a
couple of weeks these days, all from local suppliers. As for information I don’t think it is
possible to watch or read everything that is now freely available with the tap of a screen.
The number of makers giving lessons is probably the single best development for
knifemaking. Being able to have a go and seeing what is involved before forking out for
equipment and materials is just brilliant. Most of the classes revolve around forging and
seem to be riding the 180 degree flip away from stock removal and stainless blades. For a
very long time only a few makers forged and that was late in their careers. Pretty much
every new maker I meet these days is starting much younger and going straight into forging.
Hamons, patinas, Damascus, and san mai are everywhere and becoming the norm. Hollow
grinds and full tangs are giving way to flat grinds and hidden tangs. It’s starting to feel a little
weird being in the minority.
After at least 60 shows and a bucket of awards I feel I can say for sure, good intentions
don’t count for much in this caper, sheer pig headed determination is what you need. It’s
hard work that eats up all of your spare time and you need to have a very understanding
partner. You also need to have variety in your work if you are going to attend shows. Your
market outside of shows may mostly consist of one style of knife and filling those orders is
fine. A table full of one style of knife won’t do you any favours at a show. The greater the
variety of baits you put out the more fish you will catch. Not only will your table be more
interesting to buyers and other makers, you will expand your skill set by working outside your
I’m a great supporter of shows and think all makers benefit from the experience. New
makers especially should get to a show, for years they have been a catalyst for fast tracking
skills and ideas. Seeing what is being made and getting honest feedback from makers,
instead of your mates who know less than you, is one of the best things you can do for
yourself. Ask for and be prepared for an honest critique. Don’t be intimidated; remember
they are on your side and want you succeed. I take on very few orders these days preferring
to make what I want, go to a show and sell directly to a customer, nothing beats it. I have
never liked having the spectre of orders hanging over me, sucks the joy right out of it. In
recent years the Sydney Show really got things moving again. The flow on effect benefitted
and invigorated all the other Shows, attendances and sales were up across the board. With
the Show circuit growing again it’s great to know there are more than enough opportunities
to sell face to face and not having to rely on orders.
From where I stand the future is looking pretty good, it’s never looked better and never it’s
been easier to get into knife making. Equipment and materials are readily available, you can
learn by joining a group like the Australian Knifemakers Guild or any of the others that are
starting to pop up, or take a few lessons before you decide to take the plunge. Thanks to the
internet getting your stuff seen is virtually free and only a few clicks away. The only thing you
really need to remember is the plural of knife is knives. If you can do that you are good to go.
Peter Del Raso
Australian Knifemakers Guild
Victorian State Rep.
Treating Stainless Steel
Article & photos by James Johnson
So, you have made a few carbon steel knives and
you’re wanting to try working with stainless and
heat treating. Here’s the process I use and thought
I would share and give a few tips on the way I heat
treat in particularly, Sandvik 12C27 and Damasteel
When heat treating, you can use a gas forge
setup but I prefer to use an electric kiln as in a
Paragon or Evenheat kiln, as they can maintain
good control at high temperatures which is
needed for heat treating stainless.
Firstly, I start with a piece of annealed (soft)
steel and profile the basic shape and prepare
the surface using a belt grinder or hand tools
depending on what you have available.
Once you are happy with the profile, drilled the handle pin holes and stamped any makers marks, etc.,
it’s time to make an envelope from 309 stainless foil. This can be bought from Gameco or any quality
knife making supply stores and will protect the blade from producing scale due to the oxygen in the
kiln. Place the blade in the envelope and seal by folding over the edges of the foil (also, you can put
a small piece of paper in the envelope to burn any oxygen that may be in the envelope). From there
you place the blade into the kiln and set the desired temperature and hold time.
Temperatures for the hardness you would like to obtain can be found generally on the
manufacturer’s websites. Once the hold time (amount of time needed to harden the steel) has been
completed it’s time for quenching. Take the envelope out of the kiln using pair of tongs and heat
resistant gloves and “quench” between two pieces of one-inch aluminium plates. The blade will cool
within seconds. Check for straightness or warping and them it’s time to temper… (lowering the
hardness of the steel to make less brittle basically) for 2 hours depending on the recipe.
From this point, it’s time to start grinding. I generally grind my thinner blades post heat treat as
there is less chance of warping and the thicker blades grind in the bevels to about 2mm on the
cutting edge preheat treat. Make sure not to overheat the blade as that will affect the temper of the
steel, so have a bucket of water handy to dunk the blade in. Once you are happy with the grind it’s
time to spend hours hand sanding to get the desired finish and then to work on the handle.
Although this is just a basic guide, I hope it helps those new to the knife making game.
somewhere.” Well we’re pleased to advise we’ve tracked him down
A quest for precision
Editor - On the back cover of the last edition of Australian Blade we
the photo below with the invitation “We'd love to hear
from the maker of this knife, Phil Edwards. There's a story there
to Central Queensland and this is his knife making story.
I met a bloke by the name of Eddie Danko who was a
retired engineer in Cairns. I met him when I answered a
newspaper ad. Eddie was selling a bandsaw which I still
have today. He’d built a two man submersible
submarine and he was making model steam engines,
knives and pretty much everything engineering. That
was his hobby, you name it he could make it. Eddie was
an Austrian, living in Austria when the Second World
War broke out. Austria was part of the German army as
well, you know. He told me some stories about that too.
You know with the kids playing in the old tanks,
cannons, and transport vehicles when the war was over.
They would go play around in the storage yards and
everything that was left when the war was over. So I
was this young bloke looking for knowledge, I would go
to his place and he would come around to mine and we
would have a coffee. I didn’t do much talking, I did all
the listening. Even when we had phone conversation,
once you get started talking to him you shut up and he
just talks, you'd be on the phone about two hours easy,
you know and all I’d do is just listen.
Well Eddie Danko introduced me to Peter Span and we went around and there obviously Eddie was
telling me about forging steels, you know. Laminating steels. So we went around there and Peter Span
was forging, he wasn't laminating, he was just forging steels you know, making knives out of rasp
files and all sorts of crap you know? We made all different types of knives. Since I’m talking about
these two blokes, I’ll give you the run down on the first Damascus knife I made. So I went around to
Peter’s place and Peter helped me make a stacked block of spring steel and nickel. You wouldn’t
guess where the spring steel came from (laughs) about seven layers. I used his coke forge. He had
built his own power hammer and it worked a treat. It was the first time I used a power hammer. I
forged the stack into a billet of steel and then drew it out at Peter’s. The actual knife I made in the
photo I forged at home including the guard and pommel. I haven’t used a power hammer since but I
wish I had one sometimes, I think I’m starting to look like a Soldier crab.
I left Cairns and spent a number of years out bush working on cattle stations, maybe five years or six
years, something like that I think it was. I learned a lot out there though. Driving trucks and operating
machinery. I did a lot of council work you know. I worked for Cairns Earthmoving Contractors as well.
I did a lot of work with them pipe laying. In the end I just had enough. All I wanted was a trade you
know? Something else because blokes would call me Jack of all trades, master of none.
And that was pissing me off. So I thought about what I wanted to do.
I met Doug through Charlie Marino’s CRM
Gun Sports. I went in there one day and saw
a set of knives on display that were made by
Doug. I got Doug’s number and rang him
that day. I met him the following weekend
and I showed him some of my leatherwork,
as well as him showing me his knives. We
struck up a deal that day. I’d show him some
leatherwork and he’d teach me how to make
a knife using the stock removal method.
Doug was a fitter and turner. Yeah, that's
what I want to do, because I know the
precision and accuracy in his work.
When I looked at Doug’s knife pouches I
was impressed, and I remember saying to
myself “he doesn’t need any help with
these”. They were as good as his knives. I
thought a deal is a deal so I showed him a
lot of the books I had on leatherwork and
left them for him to read. I went through
them and just pointed out some other ideas,
but other than that he was already doing an
Every weekend I would go to Doug’s and work on my design. He showed me a lot when it came to
hand skills. I had to cut the profile out with a hacksaw and file the profile. I learnt how to use different
machinery in the workshop including a knife grinder he had built himself. I learnt to hollow grind,
polish, drill holes with precision, properly use a hacksaw, angle grinder, different types of files and
manual polishing with different grits of wet and dry including using the buffer. I learnt skills from
Doug that were priceless. If he could see a scratch in my knife I had to go back and polish it until it was
perfect. I built a great friendship with Doug as I did with Eddie. Two very influential mentors I had the
pleasure of learning from in my life.
Becoming a Fitter/Turner was my calling card. So I thought that's what I want to do and Eddie Danko
put me on that bit of path at the same time as well. I wanted precision you know, accuracy. I wanted to
machine stuff, I wanted, you know - quality in my work. So started ringing the workshops around Cairns
looking for an apprenticeship. So I ended up getting my start with Cairns Water. I did a year and a half
there. Then I did a bit at Tescorp Hydraulics, didn't go too well there. Anyway, I went and saw Brad at
Cairns Spring Works and ... actually I showed him some of my knives to soften him up a bit. So, Brad
took me on as an apprentice, and I finished my trade with him. I came out a full-blown fitter and turner.
In my whole working life, I haven’t met another boss like Brad. If anyone wants to work for a bloke that
has great knowledge in engineering and is an absolute pleasure to work for I would tell you to see him. I
have no regrets finishing my time with him.
I learned a lot of the basics at Cairns Water and I did learn a lot from the trades there. Yeah mate, yep.
Learned a hell of a lot more being an apprentice for Brad though. There was the variety of everything.
You know, Brad didn't say “No” to nothing mate. Whatever walked in that door we did. I remember
doing that big drive gear, final drives on the dozers. Doing the duo cone seal lip. Machining them out
then re-welding it all back in and then machining the actual duo cone seat back in. I remember doing
that. I'd make gears and all sorts of stuff there, springs, I'd make springs. Got better with hydraulics and
pneumatics as well from Brad. I actually come out of there with more knowledge on hydraulics and
pneumatics than I did at Tescorp. I think it was because I was an adult apprentice that made it hard for
me there. Didn’t get much tutoring as an apprentice, thrown straight in the deep end with not much
knowledge and skills for the work they wanted me to do.
Kris - 67 layers of low carbon, nickel and 5160, handle - ringed gidgee and iron wood with nickel silver
When I finished my apprenticeship, I left the Spring Works and went out to the mines. I went down
to Mackay and ended up getting a house at Finch Hatton and then worked away doing different
rosters and shifts. I went contracting for the first seven years or whatever it was, six or seven years I
think it was. I started working for G&S Engineering and spent a lot of time on shut down works,
you know working on drag lines, shovels and bloody wash plants and all that sort of crap. I ended
up getting hooked on wash plants I learned how all that works, how to fix it how to repair it how to
run it you know. Processing, learned a lot about processing, got a lot of certification and all that sort
of stuff too you know. Did a lot of plant operating too, you know with dozers and such, that's all
part of it. And now I’m with the reliability engineers at Kestrel. Good bunch of fellows.
I like where I am now, central Queensland, so I can do a fair bit of hunting there. I haven't been out
the reef in a long, long time maybe later, might think about that. I'm looking at getting my,
hopefully in the end I’ll get my engineering degree in mechanical. That's what I'm working as well
at the same time, also running the martial arts club down there as well. I'm also a sole trader in
custom knife making and martial arts so they are joined business.
commences his book by detailing his early life and schooling in Nova Scotia, Canada and how
came to enrol in karate classes. This kindled the beginning of a lifelong fascination and study of all
Japanese. In turn and upon finishing high school, Murray travelled to Japan and enrolled in a dojo
Kumamoto. Within his first two or three days Murray stumbled upon a bladesmith shop in
This twist of fate led to a six year apprenticeship, where on the eve of the seventh year
was informed “You are to be the 17th generation Yoshimoto Bladesmith.”
Bladesmithing contains seventeen chapters that include safety, steel selection, forge welding,
techniques, heat treating, straightening, grinding and drilling to name but a few. Murray’s
are laid out in logical sequence as are his writings within and his book is supplemented with a
of colour photographs. Murray spent eighteen years in Japan living and working as a village
book combines both Japanese and Western techniques and comprises a true essay where East
West. Bladesmithing is an informative and entertaining read and is a valuable edition to not just
knifemaker’s library but anyone with an interest in knifemaking. Signed copies are available on
website, click here.
bladesmith and is the only Caucasian recognised as a Japanese bladesmithing master.
and the like as pictured
in Queensland, can land you a fine of $12,190.00 or two years in prison. 2 This is because in the
State, single handed opening knifes are easily classified as “Category M” weapons. That means
need a “Category M” weapons license to lawfully possess one. It doesn’t matter that you can walk into
of Knives and buy one of these knives off the shelf. The fact that you can buy one does not make it
to possess one!
order to legally acquire a “Category M” weapon from the knife shop in Queensland you have to have
permit to acquire that knife and the knife shop has to be a licensed dealer. 3 For the knife shop to
same law applies
online knife sellers. Selling Category M weapons in the course of business without a dealer’s license
King of Knives have a dealer’s license? Will they ask you for a permit to acquire before selling you
knife? I’ll bet London to a brick on they won’t and London to a brick on they don’t!
relevant question is “Why isn’t the law enforced so that those that sell them without a dealer’s license
prosecuted?” Well the answer is not simple.
Chris is a part time knife maker and publishes Australian Blade. When he isn't fooling with knives or writing about them,
is a solicitor of the High Court of Australia, the Federal Court of Australia, the Supreme Court of Queensland and is
Single Handed Opening –
Queensland Perspective Part II
lex et asino
Chris Harriss 1
In the first edition of Australian Blade I discussed how possession of
legally sell these knives “in the course of business” they need a dealer’s license. 4
and without a permit to acquire, constitutes an offence. 5
I can hear the cries of disbelief and howls of protest already. “But they wouldn’t be allowed to sell them if
it wasn’t legal!” No –
a reasonable yet naive belief.
a lawyer of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
2 Section 50(1)(c)(iii), Weapons Act 1990.
3 Section 35(1)(b), ibid.
4 Section 68(1), ibid.
5 Section 50B(1), ibid.
police are not bound to enforce every infringement of the law they come across and have a discretion
deciding whether to act or not. In the case of the latter and by way of contrast to the former, police
such the concept of the police
not to enforce the law is something utterly foreign to the average person, hence the cries of
and protest. According to commentators “Full enforcement” of the criminal law is a myth 7 and
an unrealistic expectation on the police. 8
as discussed in the first edition of Australian Blade, the legal definition of a single handed opening
that is a Category M weapon is unclear. This is due to poor drafting of the relevant weapons
and a lack of case law to guidance in its interpretation. Such poor drafting results in an
in defining the substantive offence and illustrates one of Goldstein’s limitations that can
“the police seeking or achieving full enforcement”. This may explain the apparent lack of
of knife retailers that sell Category M knives without a dealer’s license. On the flip-side it is
factor may explain the apparent lack of prosecution of knife retailers is that Queensland is the
state burdened with legislation that restricts single handed opening knives. As noted in the first
opening knives that can be opened by gravity, inertia or centrifugal force…
many lawful uses, including for use in outdoor recreational activities such as camping,
knives are not prohibited in any other state or territory. So while the rest of Australia applies a
approach, Queensland lags behind. I can only speculate but it might just be that the Queensland
Service tacitly acknowledge the stupidity of the Queensland legislation by not enforcing it against
who sell these knifes without a dealer's license.
any event and regardless of what the the rest of Australia does, if you have possession of or sell a
M knife in Queensland without the relevant license, you are breaking the law.
Goldstein, Joseph, "Police Discretion Not to Invoke the Criminal Process: Low-Visibility Decisions in the Administration
Justice" (1960). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 2426, page 543.
Goldstein, Joseph, "Police Discretion Not to Invoke the Criminal Process: Low-Visibility Decisions in the Administration
Justice" (1960). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 2426, pages 560 and 561.
Chris Bowyer, Acting Director, Restricted Goods Policy, Trade and Customs Branch of Department of Immigration and
Protection (15 December 2015) Department of Immigration and Border Protection Notice 2015/40 “Amendments to
decisions not to act “are generally of extremely low visibility.” 6
“In addition to ambiguities in the definitions of both substantive offenses and due-process
boundaries, countless limitations and pressures preclude the possibility of the police seeking or
achieving full enforcement. Limitations of time, personnel, and investigative devices-all in part but
not entirely functions of budget-force the development, by plan or default, of priorities of
enforcement. Even if there were "enough police" adequately equipped and trained, pressures from
within and without the department, which is after all a human institution, may force the police to
invoke the criminal process selectively." 9
such poor drafting that facilitates the classification of these knives as weapons.
edition of Australian Blade, the Commonwealth government permits the import of these knives and
mountaineering and hiking.” 10
7 Bronitt and Stenning, Understanding discretion in modern policing (2011) 35 Crim LJ 319 at page 320.
the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 –
again to all who contributed. If you'd like to contribute to the next edition - March 2018 message
Blade on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam Grosskopf razors