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mr drinky
03-04-2011, 09:06 PM
Ok, first of all, let me say that I don't have any steel right now, but I have been looking at buying a steel billet and wondering which custom (kitchen) knifemakers will let you send them some steel to make a knife according to specs.

I got the idea after buying that Pendray wootz knife and inquired about him letting go of a billet for someone like Devin to make into a knife. Apparently Al Pendray won't let his steel go. I guess that makes sense as the last thing he needs is a knifemaker screwing up his steel and producing a poor product. In the past he did let others craft his steel, but many of them ruined the billets with improper heat treatment, so he stopped.

With that said, I saw that Ric Furrer sells Damascus billets and it got me to thinking again.

http://www.doorcountyforgeworks.com/Damascus_steel_for_sale.html

If I ever purchased a billet, who could make me a knife?

k.

sudsy9977
03-04-2011, 09:56 PM
Hey drink wassup?. If i were you and wanted a damascus knife, I would contact someone I trusted to make me a knife and leave it at that. There are howevr people that sorta fit your description. I know David Broadwell has used steel from Delbert Ealy. You have to also remember one thing, just because u get a billet and send itto someone doesn't mean you are gonna get a great knife out of it. What if the steel is garbage? I am not saying any of the people you listed make bad steel but it could happen.

So I guess what I am saying is it would be best for you to find a maker that you trust that makes damascus knives him/herself.

Just out ofcuriousity- Why did you wanna buy a billet and send it to someone???? ryan

ThEoRy
03-04-2011, 10:22 PM
I dunno but he's got about a minimum $2000 dollar order on those it looks like.

Delbert Ealy
03-04-2011, 10:35 PM
Ryan,
I make damascus for David because his location (texas-read gates of hell hot in the summer) and his temperment (mild mannered and laidback) are not suited to making damascus. Its fun making damascus here, because its still below freezing and I can forge damascus in t-shirt and jeans. It does get warm here in august, and I try to get it done before then. When its cold you can bundle up, but when it gets warm, there is only so much you can take off(forging naked is not recommended)

Ric Furrer is a good guy(I know him) and a very interesting guy as well. The material he makes is top quality.

Ryan,
Buying a billet and sending to another maker is common practice in the knife world. I occasionally get customers who want me to do this. Had one just a couple of weeks ago.

mr drinky
03-04-2011, 10:36 PM
Don't get me wrong. I LOVE to buy knives direct from people that make great knives. I have two DTs and I am signed up for one of Dave's knives. I guess it arose from my intrigue with wootz damascus and no one makes kitchen knives out of that steel. It is used more in hunter knives, but I was thinking a nice boing knife or a slicer in wootz would be a nice addition. That is what started it.

And then with Damascus steel, I see so many patterns that I like. Devin has a ton of beautiful stuff, but he is also really busy.

I do fully agree with you that the steel might not be good, and I would definitely be picky before doling out cash for custom steel and knifemaking ($$$), but I just raised it as a because it crossed my mind recently. We are already to the point where Stefan sends wood to Dave for his handles, and Dave is using steel from somewhere else for his knives. And didn't Devin used to make steel for Kramer? Maybe I am wrong, but it doesn't seem to me that high-quality boutique steel supply is that crazy (or far off). Do all of these hunter knifemakers forge their own steel? I'm not sure.

On the other hand, I might just be trying to put a lot of work (and time) into buying knives to slow down the cash hemorrhage that is happening right now on finished blades ;)

k.

mr drinky
03-04-2011, 10:37 PM
I dunno but he's got about a minimum $2000 dollar order on those it looks like.

I know. Four billets is too much in so many ways.

k.

Pensacola Tiger
03-04-2011, 10:59 PM
On the other hand, I might just be trying to put a lot of work (and time) into buying knives to slow down the cash hemorrhage that is happening right now on finished blades ;)

k.

Good luck with that. Hasn't worked for me.

Delbert Ealy
03-04-2011, 11:10 PM
Don't get me wrong. I LOVE to buy knives direct from people that make great knives. I have two DTs and I am signed up for one of Dave's knives. I guess it arose from my intrigue with wootz damascus and no one makes kitchen knives out of that steel. It is used more in hunter knives, but I was thinking a nice boing knife or a slicer in wootz would be a nice addition. That is what started it.

And then with Damascus steel, I see so many patterns that I like. Devin has a ton of beautiful stuff, but he is also really busy.

I do fully agree with you that the steel might not be good, and I would definitely be picky before doling out cash for custom steel and knifemaking ($$$), but I just raised it as a because it crossed my mind recently. We are already to the point where Stefan sends wood to Dave for his handles, and Dave is using steel from somewhere else for his knives. And didn't Devin used to make steel for Kramer? Maybe I am wrong, but it doesn't seem to me that high-quality boutique steel supply is that crazy (or far off). Do all of these hunter knifemakers forge their own steel? I'm not sure.

On the other hand, I might just be trying to put a lot of work (and time) into buying knives to slow down the cash hemorrhage that is happening right now on finished blades ;)

k.


Most knifemakers don't make thier own damascus, even some of the ones who forge don't make their own. There is a reason for this, making knives is hard enough, even the idea of forging damascus is enough to disuade most of them. It takes a special kind of nutcase to do it all :) (I should know I'm one of them)
I don't think there is anything wrong with this, its a big enough investment for the equipment just for knifemaking, a full forging shop can more than double that amount.

StephanFowler
03-05-2011, 09:07 AM
Most knifemakers don't make thier own damascus, even some of the ones who forge don't make their own. There is a reason for this, making knives is hard enough, even the idea of forging damascus is enough to disuade most of them. It takes a special kind of nutcase to do it all :) (I should know I'm one of them)
I don't think there is anything wrong with this, its a big enough investment for the equipment just for knifemaking, a full forging shop can more than double that amount.

Too right, I just started into making damascus about a year ago and it's wasted a lot of my time for just a couple of useful knives.
but I consider it to be a skill set very much worth developing.

Chef Niloc
03-05-2011, 09:13 AM
Most knifemakers don't make thier own damascus, even some of the ones who forge don't make their own. There is a reason for this, making knives is hard enough, even the idea of forging damascus is enough to disuade most of them. It takes a special kind of nutcase to do it all :) (I should know I'm one of them)
I don't think there is anything wrong with this, its a big enough investment for the equipment just for knifemaking, a full forging shop can more than double that amount.

What he sad
Most of you have seen pic's of Hoss's shop & the monster equipment he has. Most knife makers don't have #500+ power hammers and rolling mills. It's to time consuming for makers to make Damascus without the big stuff, and just like anything else to get good you have to practice a lot. Can't practice to much if it takes you a week to hammer out a bar. Remember that vid of Hoss making that bar? He did that in like 15 minute, 3 knocks with that big hammer then a quick roll then a press in that thing as big as a car.

sudsy9977
03-05-2011, 07:56 PM
I think I might have been misunderstood a little. Del-I can understand why you make steel for David, I hate the heat too! But you have to remember one thing. You make damascus to sell for a living. I was talking about getting the steel right from the maker. I see alot of makers making their own damascus these days.

Colin-I think u might be a little mislead on the equipment needed for damascus. You gotta remember both Devin and Del mak e steel for a living. A huge power hamer, press, rollers etc are necessary to make it as fast and as efficient as possible. A week to hammer out a bar? No way boss.



drinky- I think it is fine to go buy steel and send it to a maker but I would never do it. I would want the best that maker could do by themselves. That might just be me though. Hope i cleared up a few things. ryan

l r harner
03-05-2011, 11:44 PM
but if your were to buy dammy steel from a maker would you want it to be a guy that makes damascus for a living or a knife maker that needs to sell damascus now and then to make ends meet

jsut some thing to think about
liek dave knows i will send my sushi knives to him to hone as i know he is better at it them me

Chef Niloc
03-06-2011, 02:31 AM
I think I might have been misunderstood a little. Del-I can understand why you make steel for David, I hate the heat too! But you have to remember one thing. You make damascus to sell for a living. I was talking about getting the steel right from the maker. I see alot of makers making their own damascus these days.

Colin-I think u might be a little mislead on the equipment needed for damascus. You gotta remember both Devin and Del mak e steel for a living. A huge power hamer, press, rollers etc are necessary to make it as fast and as efficient as possible. A week to hammer out a bar? No way boss.



drinky- I think it is fine to go buy steel and send it to a maker but I would never do it. I would want the best that maker could do by themselves. That might just be me though. Hope i cleared up a few things. ryan

I don't even think you could do the patterns they make by hand, just a hammer. To much time steel hot steel cold back and forth.

Dave Martell
03-06-2011, 09:39 AM
I think that you should look for a bladesmith that you want a knife from first and then talk with him about option regarding steel. If he makes his own damascus he might not be willing to use another's steel however if he doesn't make damascus he might be fine with using a billet that you purchase for him. I'm sure that he'll have concerns as to who you're buying it from though. I guess the answer to the original question would be "maybe".

l r harner
03-06-2011, 11:27 AM
if they cant tell you every steel in the mix i would walk away
in hunters adn bowies it might not be a big deal but in kitchen knives and razors you want to know the perfect HT

also avoid pure nickle on the edge as it does not harden liek blade steel (but it sure makes a killer looking dammy patteren)

Ric Furrer
03-06-2011, 12:49 PM
Ryan,


Ric Furrer is a good guy(I know him) and a very interesting guy as well. The material he makes is top quality.



I like Delbert as well.....not much animosity in the pattern-welding world.
See ya at the Badger Show in a few weeks Del!

Ric

Ric Furrer
03-06-2011, 01:13 PM
Hello All,

The reason I have a minimum order on the ladder pattern is because I have made production steel in the past and have had some ask for a "test billet" to prove their design. I did this as a way for them to not invest a large sum in what may not work for them. What some have done is pose as a new knife company and received the wholesale price for the test steel billet only to have that be the only purchase and this was their intent from the start. It rubbed me wrong so I increased the minimum order to what it is and thus far it has worked for custom orders to knife companies. I do not generally have these larger blanchard ground plates in stock as some want 1/4" and another 3/16 and still another 1/8" thick. To have several hundred pounds made up in each for the hope that someone wants exactly that is not my business plan.
When an order comes in for the plates I schedule the project and make them up as needed...I can produce many such plates if required.

I do have billets of steel which are smaller and perhaps I should post them on the website so folk can choose from what is on hand. My intent with the damascus steel page as it sits is for companies who want a standard size and pattern in the hundreds of pounds for a product run...to show that large plates can be purchased in quantity for the production of hundreds of knives.

If you are looking for single pieces for a project I am sure ANY damascus maker can help you out...Del and I included. I have yet to visit any pattern-welded steel maker who does not have a pile on a shelf that he has, for some reason, never taken to a show or photographed for sale.
I have wootz ingots made up , but none forged into barstock that is not already taken for a project...one is to be a chef knife for a friend.

It is my plan for the Fall of 2011 to have a bit more stainless pattern-weld for kitchen knives as well as stainless clad carbon steel (stainless on either side of a high carbon steel blade).
I'll also have wootz and various other old/ancient steels such as blister steel and shear steel as well as the Japanese tamahagane for those who wish to use the ancient materials, but can not produce the steels themselves.
BUT
such things take time to get into production, but I have made all of the above in the past.


Ric

Delbert Ealy
03-06-2011, 02:53 PM
Ric,
Good to see you here. I am working on stuff for that show right now.
For all you guys that are planning to come to the badger knife club show, make sure you stop and talk to Ric, he really is an interesting guy to talk to.

David Broadwell
03-17-2011, 11:14 AM
I was talking with Delbert yesterday and he mentioned this thread. I thought I would make some comments.

First, in the summer it is hotter'n the gates of hell here in Texas! If it's 110 in the shop, do I really want to add another 30 or more degrees to that? NO! Okay, that's the funny thing I tell people. There are, of course, forgers here in Texas. Harvey Dean told me that in the summer he heads to work at 2AM and forges to noon. That helps deal with the heat, but he lives in the country and my house and my neighbor's master bedroom are within 30 feet of my shop. I like my neighbors! I also have a life, and that doesn't include telling my family good night at 7PM! I've spoken with many ABS guys and it seems that just about all really get a kick out of feeling the floor vibrate with each hammer blow. They just love hammering steel! Me, I'm an artist who uses damascus steel like other raw materials - wood, ivory, bronze, steel, etc. - to create knives. Damascus is interesting for obvious reasons, and I try to make it even more interesting by carving it. By buying damascus from a select few makers I am able to make my knives and not have to deal with the long learning curve or having to go through some testing process like the ABS to add some perception of legitimacy to my knives when I'm already an accomplished and professional knifemaker. And yes, I don't have to deal with the heat!

One can certainly buy a billet of damascus and send it along to a maker for a knife. However, that plan won't work with lots of makers, and certainly not with me. This is my 30th year as a knifemaker, and I believe I've earned the right to be picky, REAL PICKY! There are makers of damascus whose steel I will not use for various reasons. Some have a proven track record with me of producing the sorriest junk iron known! When around half of a professional damascus maker's billets have holes in them large enough to swallow up my Harley I quit buying his steel, and that's happened with a couple of "names". Then there may be the damascus maker who just can't act in a business like manner, like not returning calls or sending invoices, so I avoid them. Some think that you have to use something like 5 different steel alloys in a mix, which is nonsense, so I don't go for the "kitchen sink" damascus even if it's cheap. Some are just jerks, and I'd rather deal with decent guys like Ealy. And some just don't really know what they're doing. So I believe it's best that if you want a damascus knife just contact your intended maker and tell him what you want. He or she knows whose damascus to use and whose to not use. After all, in the end WE are the ones whose mark is on the knife, and if the steel is junk we are the ones who suffer the most with regards to our reputation. And if you're thinking you'll save some money by buying your own steel and sending it out, you may in fact spend more. When I get an order for a large sub hilt fighter and the customer is sending along his own steel then I have to spend time adjusting the price and dealing with some other aspect of the steel that I normally don't, and as it is said "time is money".

For the record, I use a lot of carbon damascus from Delbert Ealy. He came recommended by another maker at a time when I was having trouble with one of those big "names" who wouldn't deliver or return calls. Delbert has never failed me, is an encyclopedia of metal knowledge, and a downright decent and fun guy to work with. He's also started making stainless damascus, and it's good too. If I need a mosaic, and especially one with a composite edge, I give Dave Lisch a call. For stainless damascus I've used Thomas', Norris', and Nichols', and now Ealy's. I might consider the steel of some other maker, but as I said earlier, I'm picky.

And "mild mannered"? Yeah, right!

David

Eamon Burke
03-18-2011, 12:29 AM
Lordy I love this thread.

sudsy9977
03-18-2011, 08:51 PM
good thoughts david, another thing to remember is like you said just because someone has a "big name" doesn't represent quality.....ryan