Steve Shackleford Blog

Photos: 8 Red-Hot Forged Knives 

Robbins Fighter

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This Landon Robbins fixed blade in 1084 carbon steel won Best Fighter at the Branson Hammer-In & Knife Show. (Chuck Ward image)

Today’s red-hot forged knives include some of the best in utility and other patterns, most all in blades of high-carbon steels such as 5160, 1095, 52100 and others. Though the steels are not classified as stainless, you can control the pitting and rust on the blades by simply wiping them down after each use. No biggy, really, if you think about it. Properly heat treated and ground, the blades are easy to sharpen and cut like bandits.

Here are eight knives hot from the forge, starting with a sexy fighter in 1084 carbon steel by American Bladesmith Society journeyman smith Landon Robbins of Crane, Missouri. The understated hamon or temper line of the clip-point blade, S-guard and “dropped” blackwood handle make this puppy stand out—and it also took home the award for Best Fighter at the recent Branson Hammer-In & Knife Show.

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David C. Lemoine embellishes the blade of 5160 on his drop-point hunter with a short burst of filework on the spine. A single mosaic pin accents the contrasting brown and black lacewood bird’s beak handle. Overall length: 8.25 inches. A pouch sheath completes the package.

ABS master smith Don Fogg says a sign of a well-done hamon is one that stands out and is easy to describe. We christen the hamon on the W2 tool steel blade of ABS journeyman smith Tad Lynch‘s bowie “thundercloud” for its resemblance to an oncoming storm. The handle is Micarta®. Overall length: 14.5 inches.

Lyons and tigers and bears—oh my! In this instance the Lyons is ABS journeyman smith Bill Lyons of Palisade, Nebraska, maker of a slick hunter with a deep-bellied blade of 5160. The silver-wire-inlaid handle is separated from the blade by a minimalist guard. Overall length: 7.5 inches. The knife includes a leather belt sheath.

ABS journeyman smith Don McIntosh captures the “Musso Style Bowie” in a brass-backed blade of 5160 carbon steel and an ironwood handle. The brass guard and ferrule augment the blade’s brass back. For those unaware, “Musso” refers to bowie authority Joe Musso, who reportedly has every prop knife used in the early 1950s classic movie about BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame© member Jim Bowie, The Iron Mistress, the film that inspired many a knifemaking legend to build knives.

ABS master smith Jerry Lairson enjoyed past success on the cutting competition circuit and parlays some of that experience into his kukri in 5160 carbon blade steel and an ironwood handle. The kukri designs lends itself to chopping, one of the main requirements of any good competition cutter. Overall length: 16 inches.

Raymon Hunt of Irving, Texas, chose O1 tool steel for the 5.25 inch blade of his boot dagger. A silver ferrule separates the knife’s double-ground blade from the ebony coffin handle. Overall length: 9.75 inches. Boot daggers, a very popular style in the early days of the modern custom knife movement, aren’t seen much anymore, so Mr. Hunt’s offering is a welcome window on a bygone style long overdue for a comeback.

Another carbon steel blade with an understated hamon—this time in 1095—highlights Joel Austin‘s bowie. The straight-back blade and Spartan features make this a knife we could see Jim Bowie wearing back in the day walking down some dark alley in Natchez-Under-The-Hill, Mississippi. The handle is ironwood. Overall length: 13 inches.

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