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The heart of a knife is the steel it is made of.  Our knives are made of high carbon 1095 steel, a common steel used for making knives.  It is high in carbon content, making it able to be hardened through a process called "heat treating", which will be explained later.  1095 steel is well suited for handmade knives as it can be easily cut, and ground to shape, and makes a blade that is tough and holds a sharp edge well.  It also makes a knife that is easy to sharpen with conventional sharpening tools.

One drawback to 1095 is that it is not a "stainless" steel, meaning it can rust or corrode if left in water.  For this reason, we use a process called "bluing", in which we apply certain chemicals to the finished blade that make it darker--more "blue" in color.  This darkening actually adds a layer of oxidation to the steel to help to keep it from further rusting.  This is why the blades are not finished with a shiny bright look like stainless steel knives would.  This does not make the blade completely rust-proof, but if he blade is kept clean and dry and sometimes have a thin layer of oil applied, it will stay free of rust.  We feel that 1095 is a good choice for outdoors knives, and that the darkened "bluing" gives the blade a rugged, antique look.  This is a steel that is similar to that used in many of the knives made in the early 20th century, and  has served well as a durable and lasting material as long as it is cared for properly.

There are always trade-offs in choosing a steel.  One may have elements that make it tough and easy to sharpen, and other steels may have elements that make them more resistant to rusting, but also make them more difficult to sharpen without special tools, or make the blade lose its sharp edge faster.


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Brass comes in many forms: flat stock, round stock, tubular--practically any shape imaginable.  Brass is used commonly in knifemaking for parts such as guards, spacers, pins, pommels, liners and bolsters.  These words may not be familiar to you, so refer to our dictionary of knife components as a reference for this terminology.  

Brass is softer than steel an easier to work with.  It adds beauty and variety the knife, rather than just making all of the metal parts out of steel.  In our knife designs, brass is used on virtually every knife.  Again, refer to the dictionary page for more information on knife terminology and explanation of the parts of a knife.

Utah Knife Works

Handmade Knives by Mark Russon

Outdoor knives with the spirit of the West