This simple guide is designed to help you through the customization of your custom knife. The index below will bring to the particular point on the page that you're interested in learning more about.
1 - What is bushcraft?
The term bushcraft is often associated with wilderness survival skills. The term, however, is broader; we like the definition of bushcraft as 'the skills associated with using nature as a resource'. Bushcraft is practiced and implemented by any outdoorsmen; campers, backpackers, fishermen, hunters, explorers, etc., but of course it originated in the most primal era of human existence.
Some example bushcraft skills include whittling and splitting wood, fire making, shelter building, camp furniture building, tool creation (wooden tent stakes, walking sticks, pot suspension rigs, spoons, etc.), building natural boats/rafts, wild plant foraging, primitive navigation, tracking, fishing/hunting/trapping, weather forecasting, and the list goes on
2 - Choosing a knife model
Being dominantly a bushcraft company, most of our knife models are geared towards bushcraft use. Therefore, our knives are versatile enough to handle whatever you would throw at it in the wilderness. Some knives are designed for versatility, while other models have a specific task in mind. Click a model below to be brought to it's page
Bird & Trout and Camp Kitchen Bushcraft Knives
3 - Blade steel type
We currently offer three different steel types; O1 high carbon tool steel, CPM 3V high toughness alloy tool steel, and CPM 154 stainless steel. Not every model is available in every steel
O1 is very popular and is considered the 'gold standard' steel for bushcraft use. This steel is renowned for its ability to take a very sharp edge in the field. This is important because a sharp, polished edge works better for the push-cuts used in wood carving. And very often bushcraft knives are dominantly used for wood carving. This steel is not prone to chipping or blunting, but it is quite susceptible to rust if left wet. Keep this steel dry and/or oiled. 59 RC hardness
CPM 3V is an alloy tool steel which has incredibly high toughness, and quite good wear resistance. 3V also has descent rust resistance. It is tougher to acquire a razor sharp polished cutting edge, so for someone who dominantly whittles wood, this might not be ideal. However, the "toothy" edge it takes tends to aid in slicing oriented chores, so it is a great choice for sportsmen. The very high toughness also works great for those who are exceptionally hard on their tools, spending a lot of time batonning through gnarly wood. The high toughness also means you can go thinner with your steel and not worry about strength. 60-61 RC hardness
- CPM 154 is a stainless steel which is considered by us to be the ideal stainless steel for use in bushcraft. This steel seems to take an excellent edge sharpness (between 3V and O1), and holds it for quite a long while. The edge holding and toughness properties are great, (though beneath 3V), yet it has the additional bonus of being a true stainless steel. 60-61 RC hardness
4 - Blade Thickness
Certain models are offered in multiple blade thicknesses. Basically a thinner steel is lighter and will slice and carve better. A thicker steel is tougher and will split wood and chop better.
Often scandi grinds (which are short, keeping a lot of the stock thickness) are used with a thinner steels, and full-height convex grinds (which thin out the blade) are used with thicker steels. Exceptions to the rule also have their place
5 - Blade Edge Grind
The two most popular edge grind styles for use in bushcraft are scandi and convex. We offer both as they both have their place. Not every model is offered with both options
Convex grinds are thin, full-height grinds, which are dominantly flat but gradually get steeper towards the cutting edge. Convex grinds primarily excel in slicing oriented tasks; meat & food prep, filleting fish, cutting rope, etc., and are the ideal edge for chopping. When it comes to wood carving, convex grinds are a bit less aggressive and harder to control than a scandi.
6 - Blade Finish
Purely a visual preference option, we offer two types of finishes; the brushed satin finish, or the rustic dark heat-treat finish. Note; with a dark heat-treat finish, the logo is always placed on the spine
Blade with a satin finish
Blade with a dark heat-treat finish
7 - Tapered Tang
A tapered tang is when the blade steel gradually gets thinner from the point at the top of the handle scales (thickest point) to the bottom of the knife handle (thinnest point). The two advantages of a taper are to reduce the weight of the knife and to make the knife's balance more blade-heavy, assisting in chopping. Full-tang purists feel prefer the stability of the true thickness running throughout the tang. Note; all of our blades are already "skeletonized" to reduce weight
Tapered tang (lower left), Normal tang (upper right)
8 - Handle Scales
The handle scales are the primary material used for your knife handle. We only offer stable choices, so whether or not you select a synthetic or a natural material you can be sure that your handle is suitable for regular use in bushcraft*. Synthetics are, of course, always going to be tougher and more weather-resistant than naturals. So if you're going to be using a knife which you know will be put through a lot of hard use or subjected to water often, a synthetic handle is your best bet.
*We recommend that all natural handle materials be treated regularly. We first treat all of our natural handles with a soak in mineral oil, followed by a coat of Obenauf's Heavy Duty LP (beeswax propolis blend). There are a lot of options to protect and maintain your knife handle, but we recommend Obenauf's Heavy Duty LP (which is also ideal for protecting your blade from rust and your leather sheath from the elements).
9 - Handle Bolster
Bolsters make up the top portion of the knife handle, as a replacement for the handle scales. Bolsters are traditionally made of metal, such as brass, and often sport a pronounced fingerguard within them. Our bolsters are different. We do not use metal for bolsters, as they add unnecessary weight and take away heat from your hand in cold conditions. We only offer our toughest synthetic materials as bolster options.
The bolster is primarily a visual preference thing, breaking up the look of the knife. But bolsters do add some degree of strength towards the top of the handle (where strength is important), supporting a more delicate handle material option (c-tek, redwood burl, box elder burl, etc.).
The below Voyageur has a brown canvas micarta bolster with green canvas micarta scales
The below Classic has a white G10 bolster with ironwood scales
10 - Handle Liners
The handle liners are the strips of material which run between the blade steel and the handle scale material. Liners are dominantly a visual preference thing, though they can add a very slight degree of strength by absorbing some of the shock from chopping or batonning (the thicker 1/8 inch liners may provide more shock absorption). The second liner runs between the first liner and the handle scale material, and is purely for aesthetics.
Thin black liner
Thin blue liner with a thin white secondary liner
11 - Bolts
Loveless bolts are our hardware of course because they securely fasten on the handle scales with clamping stability. We have three metal options; brass, stainless, and copper.
12 - Mosaic Tubing
A mosaic tube has a slight pattern within them. Ours are quite simple, and feature an inner tube and an outer tube with a series of small pins in a circle between them. These are purely a visual preference option. Note; mosaic tubes do have smaller diameter holes than a solid tube, so small diameter lanyard cord must be used. Mosaic tubes also add a small amount of weight to the knife handle.
Solid tube (top), Mosaic tube (bottom)
13 - Handle Thickness
We currently shape out our handles free-handed, so we have the benefit of offering a couple of different handle thickness options. In most cases we recommend our "standard" handle thickness. If you have rather long fingers, you may wish to choose the extra thick option (XL glove plus). Either thickness is comfortable and versatile for the majority of users. Note; if you choose an extra thick handle and you don't have long fingers, there is the possibility that your hand and forearm will exhaust more quickly during long carving sessions
14 - Logo
You're able to choose where our maker's mark is placed. The more subtle option is to place the company name on the spine. The more decorative option is our circular landscape logo to be placed on the satin flats of the knife. Note; convex grinds and dark heat-treat finish knives will always have a spine logo
Spine etch (top), Circular landscape logo (bottom)
15 - Matching Firesteel
A firesteel is a metal-blend rod which can be struck to create sparks. A dedicated striker can be used to strike the firesteel, though the spines of our knives are a crisp 90 degree angle for throwing sparks as well. Our matching firesteels are 3 x 3/8 inch long, and the handle is made of material which matches your knife handle. All firesteels are unique in shape.
16 - Sheath Type
We hand-make custom leather sheaths in our shop for the knife at hand. Our leather sheaths are offered in right or left-handed variations. A right-handed sheath, when worn, will have the direction of the knife edge facing behind you
17 - Sheath Color
We offer four different sheath colors; chestnut brown (a medium brown), dark brown, black, and burgundy.
18 - Sheath Additions
Optional add-on's are available for our custom leather sheaths.
- Firesteel loops are designed to hold a 3/8 diameter firesteel or sharpening rod.
- Removable danglers allow your knife to ride lower. This can be helpful if you find that your backpacking hip belt jabs the top of your knife and sheath, and you want it to ride lower to prevent this. The dangler can be added or removed with a simple screw-in pin.
Hopefully this guide helped answer any questions on building your knife. If you have any specific questions, feel free to Contact Us, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.