Australian Blade Ed 3 Dec 2017


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!

Chris Harriss


Welcome ……………....................................2


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

knifemakers –

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.

Arlene’s story

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

these crafts.

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.

Adam Grosskopf

On Cold Forging

ABS Master Smith and 17th Generation Yoshimoto Bladesmith Mr Murray

Carter writes exclusively for Australian Blade on cold forging.

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.

Murray Carter

ABS Master Bladesmith

17th Generation Yoshimoto Bladesmith

2038 NW Aloclek Drive #225

Hillsboro, Oregon 97124

Office: 503.466.1331

Cell: 503.816.6556

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…

Peter Bald.



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,


"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

comfort zone.

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


Beginner’s Guide


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.

Happy Grinding…

somewhere.” Well we’re pleased to advise we’ve tracked him down

Phil Edwards

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

awesome job.

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.


Book Review

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


Knife Laws

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.

9 Ibid.

the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 –

and Weapons.”

again to all who contributed. If you'd like to contribute to the next edition - March 2018 message


Blade on Facebook or email


Adam Grosskopf razors

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