|From Christof Harper of Koyote Knives
My knives are made to be used. Some of my designs and finish tendencies reflect that. I prefer finishes that improve with use, and durable natural handle materials. Some of my material is recycled or reused, but I purchase most of my steel new. I love ipe as a knife handle wood, and much of my ipe stock comes from architectual jobs I have worked on. I use a lot of tooling type steels, primarily Uddeholm 15n20. It’s an excellent steel for tough and resilient blades. I also use 5160, 1084, and 8670M steels.
Some of my knives are forged from stock, some are profile ground. Even the profile ground blades make several trips into the forge for annealing, straightening and thickness adjustments, and normalizing. A properly normalized profile ground blade will be just as good as a purely forged one.
I do all of my own heat treating, using various methods for tempering depending on the type of knife. Most of my blades have a differential temper.
I have a fondness for making bushcraft knives, mostly with a strong Scandinavian influence. I also enjoy making modern camping knives, patch knives, small game hunting knives, and some kitchen knives. Nessmuks are one of my favorite styles to work with, as are puukkos and leukus. I don’t limit myself to these, but I usually have more than one of each of these types that I’m working on, which helps with turnaround time on orders.
Recently I have been making more Spanish Dirks, Boar Hunting knives, and large combat/utility knives. I enjoy all of these and strive to keep my own Wood and Leather Tactical aesthetic in them.
None of my knives fall into a production category. Even when I’m duplicating a knife I’ve made before, I use at best a reference photo or sample and a rough sketch of profile outline. Every knife, for me, needs to grow in my hands as I make it. So every order, even for a standard knife, will be unique. This also allows for a broad selection of finishes, handle materials, and final grinds.
For handle materials, I most often work with osage orange, ipe (a South American hardwood that’s rather plain but very very durable), and whatever scales I’ve picked up along the way. I do have some micarta in stock most of the time, as well.
I help make my own sheaths here in the shop, with the assistance of a professional sheathmaker who does wonderful work. I trained her and still do primary design work on newer patterns - but her execution is far beyond me. Our sheaths are functional, durable, and rugged. The expedition sheath pictured with many of the bushcrafters is available as a custom sheath for just about any knife, and can be customized for carrying firesteels, small pouches, etc.