Never having made a knife with over six blades, even multi-blade maestro Gene Shadley was challenged to reproduce a 19th-century sportsman’s knife based on a 10-blader made by Christopher Johnson & Co. of Sheffield, England.
Engraver Simon Lytton provided the old catalog Shadley selected the pattern from, which Shadley made larger than the original (5 7/8 vs. 3 5/8 inches closed). The knife required a locking master blade and a lockbar—neither were on the original—as per customer order. Hence, Shadley had to redesign the knife from the ground up, making nine blades work in slip-joint fashion along with having to figure out how to make the master blade work as a lockback.
The band in mid-handle, another first for Shadley, was also by customer request. Shadley had to make new rear bolsters to accept the tweezers and ivory toothpick. Even the file is different than anything he had done, requiring a knurling tool for the double grooves. The customer wanted no blade wobble, so Shadley made the lockback work with minimal tension, and installed bushings for all the blades to control the amount of play in each.
Shadley said he had orders for two more 10-bladers and planned on making a large exhibition knife with probably somewhere between 12-to-15 blades that he hoped to display at the Solvang Custom Knife Show April 28, 2012.
For more information contact Gene Shadley, 209 NW 17th St., Grand Rapids, MN 55744 218-244-8628 or 218-999-7197 ShadleyKnives@hotmail.com.
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Gene Shadley took the 10-blader without the sambar stag scales (top) to the 2010 New York Custom Knife Show “to show it off” and for photography, then took the completed version to the ’10 Guild Show, where Point Seven photographed it in a multiple exposure with the scale-less image (you can see the lockbar on the spine of the scale-less version). Blade steel: ATS-34 stainless. His list price for a similar piece: $10,000. (Point Seven photo)