We moved to Omak, WA in December 2021 and it took a few months for me to get the knife making shop set up the way I want it. It’s still not 100% there, but at least I’m able to work and build knives. Which is a good thing because I’ve sold a couple more knives! In fact I’ve sold FIVE in just the past month!
I am so pleased that folks in the area like my work.
I’m working on a couple of new designs that I’ve been tweaking over the last couple of weeks. Some of them are going to be one off’s as they were a real challenge for me – like the dagger – been there, done that, now moving on.
But there is the ‘Just Basic Camp Knife’ and a couple others that are just that. I enjoy making each one because no two are the same. That knife is the ‘Day Tripper’. I’m going to keep making those but my best seller I’m not making any more – I just made the last one. I’ll post pic’s once they are all done and I have the sheaths made for them. This Last One is the last of the PuP series. It is 440C etched with 200 year old American oak and purple heart scales and it comes with one of my hand crafted leather sheath. ANYWAY I’ll post pic’s.
I regard ‘Forging your own steel’ in the same way I regard ‘Casting your own bullets’ – it’s something you can get into if so inclined, but not necessary. There are dozens of companies out there who offer ‘Steel Blanks’ upon which a knife blade can be designed, shaped and cut. From these I choose only high quality steel to work with. My preference is exceptional edge retention over corrosion resistance because corrosion can be prevented with proper care and it can be remove if it occurs. However if a knife can not hold an edge, it is useless and ‘High Carbon Steel’ is my primary choice of medium to work with because of it’s ability to hold a truly wicked edge. But because some people can not be bothered with having to care for a knife, I do make knives of ‘High Carbon Stainless Steel’ as well.
My preferred steel for ‘Art Knives’ is Damascus, however using just that would put the cost of knives out of reach for most people. Damascus is a type of blade material where the steel is heated and folded over and over creating layers. The number of folds can vary from 3 to 2000. Obviously the more folds the more expensive the material and this steel is bought by the precious inch. Damascus comes in many different patterns and types. In an effort to keep my knives affordable and still maintain quality I mainly use 512 fold steel. My preference is a blade with a high carbon center for holding an edge and softer stainless steel layers for strength and flexibility.
For non-Damascus steel I tend to prefer ‘High Carbon’ steels (1084, 1095 High Carbon Steels, D2 Carbon Steel, or 01 Tool Steel) and the ‘Stainless Steels’ that I use also have a high carbon content (440C, CPM154 and 5Cr15). What that means for you the buyer is that you will have to look after your knife. By that I mean that you will need to dry it after use, don’t store it in a wet sheath and keep it lubricated with ‘Rust Free’ or some other product that will prevent rust.
All of my knives that are made using natural materials (bone, wood, antler, horn) for handles, are ‘Stabilized’ using either CA glue, Wood Juice – wood stabilizer or Polycryl – wood fortifier. They are all finished with ‘Renaissance wax’ which is used by museums and historic object restorers and collectors as a conservational material.
The other factors that affect the price of Moondog Knives are the handle materials, ranging from deer or elk antlers, to exotic woods like desert iron wood, to handcrafted Micarta. The other material cost is the sheath materials used. I use lightly worked leather keeping the design simple and functional, but built to last. My goal is to make custom handcrafted knives affordable for the average person.