Author Topic: Custom or semi-custom folding knives.  (Read 413 times)

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Offline wsdstan

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Custom or semi-custom folding knives.
« on: December 14, 2020, 08:03:25 PM »
I have been looking for a slip joint custom knife lately and have found a couple of makers.  One is more of a production maker and the other is a custom maker who uses his own designs and offers friction folders and locking versions along with a couple of automatic designs.

Chris Crawford out of Mississippi is the custom maker.  His slip joint is superb looks wise and I think it is as well made as any I have seen going by his videos.  No prices but I found a comment about one that was a bit old and it said $200.  I suspect they are higher priced these days.  Not sure of his steel either.
https://chriscrawfordknives.com/knives/slipjoints/

The other is North Arm Knives out of British Columbia.  They make a nice looking slip joint folder as well as kitchen, fishing, and hunting fixed blade patterns.  Steel on the folders is CPM S35VN

https://northarmknives.com/product/skaha-folder/

One issue with these first two is the waiting list.  Crawford will contact you when he has knives but doesn't say how long that might be.  North Arm has a waiting list and it has been running a year but that might shorten up as they have moved into larger space and increased production ability.  At my age waiting lists are not good.

If I depart from these two there is a production knife available from Enzo. One of their folders is a Birk 75 liner lock.  It is a good looking knife and about the same size as the above makers produce. 
Specs:
Blade Length: 2.95?
Blade Thickness: .12?
Closed Length: 4.1?
Grind: Scandi
Blade Steel: S30V

Anyway half the fun is looking for good stuff.  I am going to see what Crash has on his FB page and call it a night.
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
(Mark Twain)

Offline crashdive123

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Re: Custom or semi-custom folding knives.
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2020, 04:26:15 AM »
I've been avoiding it, but making folders is on my to learn list.

Offline Mannlicher

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Re: Custom or semi-custom folding knives.
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2020, 08:59:07 AM »
custom folders are priced out of my comfort zone

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Custom or semi-custom folding knives.
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2020, 09:34:47 AM »
Sam the Skaha II folder from North Arm is $230 with the clip and shipping.  The Crawford I am not sure of price wise but it used to be a bit over $200.  These prices are for a slip joint so they are more than a lot of them but way under a one off custom. 

The North Arm is really a production knife of course and the Crawford is sort of a production knife as the differences are just the handle material I think.

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
(Mark Twain)

Offline Mannlicher

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Re: Custom or semi-custom folding knives.
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2020, 02:02:51 PM »
I have several nice slip joint traditional knives, Great Eastern and other sources.  I got a new price list from a friend that makes seriously good folders.  His start at $500.  And.......go up.    WAY up.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Custom or semi-custom folding knives.
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2020, 07:53:28 PM »
Yep they are pricey.  There is a guy in Colorado who makes some very good folders that start at about $1000 and go to $2000.  He makes his own damascus and it is spectacular.  Then there is Dan Thornburg, the fellow in New Mexico,  who posts here and on his website is one for $1200 and a couple just under a $1000.  They are worth it but not as users, at least for me.  My choice will probably be the Chris Crawford and once he gets back from Christmas I will get more information from him.  His are sort of custom in that he makes the parts and designs them, teaches via videos how to make them, and has some good videos on how some of the automatics he makes work. 

I do like the Skaha 2 made in Canada.  It is a decent looker for $230 delivered.  It is a production knife with a one year waiting list.

There is a box full of slip joints and liner locks and lock backs and even a russlock in a room at our house.  Most are production knives from Buck, Case, Spyderco, etc. and a couple are custom but not spectacular in any regard.  Around the farm I use several pocket knives depending on whim.  These days they are mostly used for cutting bale strings and opening boxes of stuff from the Post Office.  I should probably quit while I am ahead.   :P
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Offline crashdive123

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Re: Custom or semi-custom folding knives.
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2020, 04:44:35 AM »
Folders are on my 2021 to learn list.

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Custom or semi-custom folding knives.
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2020, 07:54:34 AM »

 I can actually remember when, where, and how I got my first folding pocket knife, and also how and where I lost it,  I was on vacation at Sebago Lake in Maine, my folks rented the boat house on little Sebago lake just a short walk from Whites Bridge one week a year for quite a few years,  there was a set of steps leading from the cabin down to the water and ended at a small pier that jutted out into the water.
 At five years old it was where I spent much of my idle time drowning worms and watching Arthur Godfrey (he owned a Cabin in the cove at the end of little Sebago) taxi his small plane past our boathouse, pass under Whites bridge and into Big Sebago where he would take off from and land.
 Well it was while I was sitting on the pier one morning just after breakfast and had just thrown out my first cast of the day really hoping not to get a birds nest, anyone my age and who fished will remember what those were, back then we didn't have the benefit of todays marvels of advanced reel technology, we had the old fashioned bait casting reels, some were really expensive, others were about as cheap as one could get, but they basically all functioned the same way, they had a button to lock the spool, an adjustable drag, a free spinning spool, all housed in a simple round metal body.
 The most important part of the whole setup was your skill in manipulating your thumb on the spinning spool as the line was playing out, if you were aiming for precision bait casting you had to let the line go as far as possible before the bait got to where you wanted it, if you stopped the spool too soon you wouldn't reach your target, but if your bait hit the water before you thumbed the spool to stop it the bait stopped and the reel kept spinning off line, and the result would look like a birds nest with your reel at the center,  which usually took an experienced angler 15 minutes to an hour to get untangled, if you were a five year old you probably brought it to your dad to untangle,  and that usually meant listening to a bunch of words you wouldn't want to use in front of your mom.
 Any way,  it was on that morning when my dad walked on to the pier and handed me a brandy new Imperial Camp King scout type pocket knife and said it's about time I get my own pocket knife,  was I ever surprised and all of a sudden I felt allot more grown up.
 I spent a couple of days just sitting on that pier whittling away what ever sticks that presented themselves, we kids (especially back then) all had cap pistols (yup, it was moral, ethical, and non fattening to let your kid have a toy gun) they used small rolls of caps that had some sort of exploding powder in them that made a pretty loud bang when they were fired in a cap gun, hit with a hammer,  or scraped with a knife blade.
 Well, a few days after my dad presented me with my first pocket knife he caught me sitting on my pier scraping caps with my new knife, he didn't think it was a great idea so he warned me to quit doing it or he'd take my knife away from me,  later that after noon I was at my station hold my knife in one hand and a fresh roll of caps in the other when I spotted my dad coming down the steps leading to the pier,  Being afraid that I'd get caught I quickly decided to toss the caps in the water and pocket my knife, but in my excitement and guilt I got the process mixed and pocketed the caps while I tossed my new knife in the lake, never to be seen again. 

 Ok, my opinion on custom pocket knives as users for myself, they are nice to look at and fondle,  and then there's the pride of ownership, all of which I'm really not into enough to drop big bucks into, however, I am into knives, I am very traditional in my likes, modern tactical, assisted opening, or knives with blades that resemble alligator heads with a hole for an eye, or that are serrated or wear black rubber scales do not do anything for me,  give me a good quality slip joint pocket worn folder and I'm happy.
 Non custom in my book doesn't have to mean lessor quality, their are quite few makers of production pocket knives that run in the $200.00 and under range that make great quality beautiful looking, durable pocket knives that are well suited for taking on most reasonable cutting tasks while looking good doing it.

But hey, that's just me.    :cheers:   
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Custom or semi-custom folding knives.
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2020, 09:24:34 AM »
Your losing your first knife is a better story than mine.  The principal at our grade school took mine away from me and never gave it back.  It was the first time I said someone was an to their face.

You are right about custom knives to a degree Moe.  They are fun to look at and own but I would have trouble using one that cost more than my son pays for rent on his place each month. 

I have the custom fixed blade knives that appeal to me.  A Kephart that Sarge (Mike) made and also his version of a belt knife.  I use both of them a lot and like them so much that I am dumping some knives I thought I would never sell.  There is also a Blind Horse baby bush with a  custom sheath Moe made that I won't sell and a Bernie Garland recurve bushcrafter I carry in a sheath that was made by Dano.  Knowing who made your knife and and who made your sheath sort of takes that person along on every hunt and outing.  Sitting by a campfire drinking coffee while you are preparing dinner with a great knife is hard to beat.  Moe, you are right about quality of production knives.  For instance the new Buck 112 slim pro lite is a really good knife and can be had for about $80.  It is a lock back which I would rather not have.  The steel is S30V.

The folder that is in my mind can be a production knife instead of a true one off custom but I want a particular size, design, and steel that appeals to me.  It would be small knife, 2 1/2 to 3 inch blade, bone or stag handle, slip joint or liner lock, and no bolsters.  Steel can be any of several.  Exotic not necessary.  Visually the knife closest to what I want is the Chris Crawford slip joint.   
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
(Mark Twain)