Our proprietary, best-in-class manufacturing process uses top grade steels to forge the most reliable, durable, and effective everyday knives that won’t let you down in even the most extreme of situations. Here’s how we do it, broken down stage-by-stage.
First, we determine what will be the best steel type to use for the job — be it stainless steel, carbon steel, or pattern welded (aka “Damascus”).
Fun Fact: All pattern welded steel is made in house, by KC.
We prototype a new blade and test it, making tweaks as needed until the final design goals are met. Although manufacturers of steel give general heat treating recommendations, we go beyond these standards by testing and measuring the unique attributes of every blade.
For each batch of steel multiple blades are heat treated. Each blade is then tested with a Rockwell Hardness Tester to measure its hardness, which will tell us if we are squeezing the absolute most potential from the particular blade steel.
Once the heat treatment testing has been completed and we feel that the steel is at its maximum potential, prototype blades are made. They are then used to cut various things such as rope, cardboard, wood, bone, and even steel. This is done to determine that the blade has the correct heat treatment to support its edge geometry. It will also make sure the edge is stable in use and not prone to “rolling” or “chipping.”
Blades can then be shaped by either forging them using forging hammers, hydraulic presses, or hand hammer and anvil, or by cutting them from the bar via water jet, laser, or bandsaw. All is dependent on the type of knife being made. Homogeneous steel blades, for example, are typically cut from flat plate using a waterjet.
The steel for making pattern weld typically starts as two to three inch round bars, which are flattened under the 600lb Nazel forging hammer. Two different types of steel are used in this process. The bars are stacked together and heated in the furnace to 2300 degrees fahrenheit, then “forge welded” under the hammer. This bar is then repetitively stretched longer under the power hammer, folded back onto itself and re-welded multiple times until the desired number of layers are reached.
Blade blanks are then heat treated in house, personally by KC. Heat treatment is a very involved process for each individual batch of steel, so we perform extensive testing on each new batch in order to dial in the optimal heat treatment.
Every “run” of steel from the mill has slight variations in its makeup that make it unique. That’s why we run our test blades through numerous cycles at various temperatures and hold times. Each blade is then hardness tested using a certified and calibrated Rockwell Hardness Tester. This lets us determine which process yielded the optimal result, so we do this for every new batch of steel.
Many bladesmiths follow a standard heat treatment protocol from the steel manufacturer’s recommendation — that’s easy. We go beyond these minimalist recommendations by testing every batch to determine its unique attributes. We tweak the times and temperatures based on each batch of steel’s unique chemistry. We want to squeeze every last drop of performance the steel is capable of, giving our customers the absolute BEST product we can deliver.
Hardened blades are then ground to final shape and receive their final finish. We then design and make handle components, if the blade design requires them, and move on to complete final assembly. Our blades are individually sharpened to give them that sharp edge that outlasts our competitors. Lastly, we always mark our blades with our logo using a laser for easy distinction.