I’ve had a few people write me asking if I would sell them one of my knives. I considered it but then decided it wasn’t worth the risk. I’ve got bags full of crooked and hook knives and a small pile of what I call my Woods Roamer Knife but I’ll not sell them. In another world at another time I might have considered it but not in today’s litigious atmosphere. Besides it’s a hobby and I’m not going to spend money on an LLC or anything like that in order to protect myself from some lawyer who makes his living suing folks.
I considered writing a pamphlet with lots of photos and details on precisely how to make these knives. This booklet would be thorough and I’d share with you everything I’ve learned from over 50 years of making cutting tools. I’d package this booklet and sell it online for 99-cents or maybe have a printer in a nearby city assemble some copies and then sell them for a few bucks more. I have no idea if that would be of any interest to people. Let me know if you think it’s a worthwhile idea. My philosophy is to make practical knives using mostly hand tools in order to be as self-sufficient as possible. I make my own bows and spoons and bowls and grow my own food and if I could I’d even make my own pickup truck. By the way, we’re building a new greenhouse and I’ll show you pictures of it when it’s finished.
Just yesterday I watched a young fellow walk up to the cabin and he was carrying one of my Woods Roamer knives that I gave him a while back. It made me feel good knowing he relies on the knife I made and that he considers it one of the best all-around knives he owns. Just as he ambled up to the porch he took out his knife and bent down and rubbed it into the dirt. “What are you doing?” I asked him. He wiped the knife’s blade on his pants and said, “Killing a scorpion.” Ah yes, now I make knives for not only camp chores and bushcraft but also for killing scorpions!
I seldom use knives made by anyone else. I’ve got a few Mora knives but I don’t use them much other than when fishing because they are too fragile for the hardwoods we have around here. They may be just the ticket for the softer woods in northern climes but in the hard desert and brushland country those Scandi-blades are perhaps a bit too delicate. I have however given some old machetes new life; and in fact, I just finished rejuvenating a couple of discarded machetes and I’ll post photos of that endeavor in an upcoming article.
I made my first knife when I was about nine or ten years old. Forged on a coal-fed fire and pounded on an anvil that was probably made back at the turn of the last century. My buddy Butch and I made our first knives from pieces of a disk blade we salvaged in the back of the blacksmith shop next to our houses. We needed those knives to fight bandits that were roaming the woods near the cotton gin across the road. We quenched them in motor oil but didn’t know about tempering. We hafted the blades using wood we obtained from an orange tree behind Butch’s house. We used a grinder to get the knives near razor sharp and then started whacking some wood (the bandits) in a fierce battle that lasted a few days. But both blades cracked. They were much too brittle. But that’s how the learning process started. You’ll make dozens of knives (or maybe you’ll get it right on the first try) but either way you’ll feel good about what you’ve done because you now have a new skill.