Thursday, December 21, 2006

Uncle Howard

I thought I'd say a few words about my dear old Uncle Howard. He passed away a few years ago at the age of 90 or so and I wish I had gotten to spend more time with him before he died.

Uncle Howard was my great uncle, my Mom's uncle. He lived in CT and worked at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft for many years in the experimental engine department. Before that he had worked at Chance Vaught in the 1930's, one of the early aviation companies. He had met Amelia Earhart on a few occasions and he knew Igor Sikorsky very well and used to have lunch with him sometimes. In fact he was present at the very first helicopter test flights. Pretty neat stuff.

Anyway, Uncle Howard had a wonderful workshop in a barn next to the little 1830's house in Vernon, CT. I used to love going there as a kid and hanging out in the shop. It was mostly a woodworking shop as I remember it with workbenches covered in shavings and sawdust. Uncle Howard would give me a hand drill and some wood and set me to drilling holes just for fun. Upstairs in the barn there was a loft full of all sorts of junk, antiques and trunks of all descriptions. He had a little office up there where he could go to get away from Aunt Mary and smoke his cigars. On the end wall of the loft he had hung a dart board and I remember standing there many times throwing darts. I used to really love that and still do!

Downstairs he had an experimental car that he had built. The body was entirely of fiberglass and it had a motorcycle engine to power it. I don't think it ever saw much time on the road but it was pretty cool. I remember how he showed me the little pieces of fiberglass on which he was testing coatings. He told me that the first pieces had failed which is why it was important to test on pieces of scrap before committing to the whole thing. That was good advice and I have never forgotten it.

He retired in the late 1970's I think. He and Aunt Mary sold the house in Vernon and moved to a small town in VT. There he set up a very impressive home machine shop and continued to tinker for years. I wish I had been more interested in these things as a young man because Uncle Howard could have passed on so much knowledge to me. Unfortunately I didn't really get into this stuff until after he had declined and by the time I was fully involved with knifemaking Uncle Howard had passed. It's a shame that he never knew how valuable the time spent with him was to me. He gave me a wonderful gift and I'll always cherish it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sick of Damascus Yet?

Gotta love that Sunstorm damascus! These were left dark, love the way they came out.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

More Dam Whistle Shots

This is a new Damasteel pattern. Don't know the name but it sure does make a purty whistle. :)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Man with No Butt

That's right, I'm working it right off lately. :) LOL, trying to keep up with all the Christmas requests so I've been a little quiet lately. Have a few new items to post this week and I will as soon as I can snap some pics. I'm looking forward to taking a few days off after Christmas but right now it's strictly all work all the time with a small dose of football in between.

Into the category of failed experiments goes the carbon fiber whistle. We tried to do one this weekend and unfortunately it just disintegrated into a mass of hairy fibers. Oh well. It was the thought that counted! Too bad because the outside was looking pretty good but as soon as we went to bore it, pooof!

I'm still not ready to conceed defeat on the titanium whistle. The outside of the one we tried looked fabulous, better than any of the steel ones in fact. But the boring turned out to be a problem and I think we did not have the proper tooling or feed rates so we stalled out halfway into the piece and fried the bit. I think that can be solved fairly easily though and someday it just might become a reality.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Another Son of a PryThing!

Another Son of A PryThing rescued from the Old Shed in the Area51 complex. This one definitely shows signs of Alien intervention.... :P

High Voltage Imp

Monday, November 27, 2006

Five Turn Twist

Five Turn Twist Damasteel has a very natural looking wood grain kind of pattern that I find most appealing. Especially when it's on a teeny tiny Son of PryThing with rubber cordwrap. This is my personal carry piece lately. :)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Whistle Closeups

Had a couple more Whistle shots so I thought I'd post them.


Here's a couple of closeup shots of an Odin's Eye Damasteel Nano card. I really liked the second one in particular.

Nose to the Grinding Belt

It's that time of year. Leaves, lime and one last mowing to take care of the lawn and button it up for the winter. We've been having some very mild weather this fall and so the grass keep growing. The oaks have finally given up most of their leaves except for a few stragglers and there were a few big piles to haul away. The good weather is nice for working in the shop as my heat is not the best and I'm dreading the days when it will start to get really cold. It isn't uncommon to see temps in the lower 50's down in the shop on the coldest days, brrrrr!

So, aside from making piles of Prybabies, Whistles and Keytons to get a jump on the holiday orders this past week, the knife production has been suffering. Will be getting back to sheath making and the stuff that cuts real soon. I promise. :)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Also, Some Random

Apparently Mike Norris doesn't make much stainless random pattern dasmascus so when I heard about a few pieces that were available I snapped one up. Might have to try and get more.

Mike Norris Sunstorm

I picked up a piece with this pattern recently. Beautiful stuff! :)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Dam Whistle

Here were a couple of shots of a recent damascus whistle. This one is happy in its new home in CA but there may be more coming in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


My new little shop buddy. Well, actually he's not allowed in the shop but he's good for after hours diversions. :)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The TT Returns

I finally got around to finishing a couple of these that have been sitting around for way too long. I'm really digging the rubber cord even though the 3/16" diameter stuff was a major pain on the bigger piece. The finished effect is really nice though, offering an incredibly comfortable and secure grip.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006


I finally got off my lazy butt and ground a few knives recently. This is just a small sampling of what I just added to my site. Micro Bug Out Blades in several flavors...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Damascus Imp

Made from thick Mike Norris Gator damascus with rubber cordwrap. A unique piece! :)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Visit with the Engineers

I had the great pleasure of a visit to my shop yesterday by the two top engineers from Norton Abrasives engineered belts division. My cousin happens to be one of them and he has graciously sent me various belts several times over the years for testing. For those that don't know, Norton and 3M are the two major manufacturers for the belts that knifemakers use on their grinders. Although 3M is the big player in the industry, Norton offers some outstanding products as well that often equal and in some cases exceed the high quality of the 3M belts.

Anyway, Norton would like to stay competitive and they are working on ideas for improvements and on ways to better reach the knifemaking market. So they asked if they could come out for a field trip and see how their products are being used by knifemakers. We had a great chat and I demonstrated most of my techniques and operating procedures. They were extremely helpful and gave me all kinds of info on the best uses and proper belt speeds for best results. I learned alot and hopefully I gave them a few ideas and insights into my needs.

We also discussed the needs of other makers who are doing different things than I am and what their requirements are and how they differ. I am optimistic that the mirror polish guys will also benefit from the meeting yesterday.

A good time was had by all and I'm looking forward to their next generation of high tech products.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Treading H2O

That's what I feel like I've been doing lately. Waiting for the energy wave of work to come back up. Hopefully I'll be able to take a deep breath and dive back down for some more pearls very soon....

Got a few new ideas that I'm slowly working out. Some of these things take forever and some can happen pretty quickly. It just depends and usually you can't predict how it will go. A lot of it has to do with how busy it is and how much energy I have.

All I can say is stay tuned, more goodies to come. :)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Rough Weekend

Sheesh, talk about your lousy weekends...I was taking it easy this weekend trying to give my aching wrists a rest. On Saturday, after my usual morning visit to the post office, I decided to run down the street to my favorite little drive-in diner for a cup of coffee. It was raining lightly and pretty gloomy outside. I chatted with the owners who are good friends of mine, got my coffee and headed out the back door intending to say goodbye to another friend who works there. I stepped onto the thankfully short back staircase and the next thing I knew I was picking myself up off the bottom step. I must have slipped on the soaking wet aluminum threshold in the doorway. Anyway, I landed hard on my left hip and elbow and spilled my coffee everywhere. Felt like a damned fool. So I went home and took it easy for the rest of the weekend. Then, as if to add insult to injury, the Patriots lost to the Broncos last night. Arrrrggghhh, will the injustices never cease?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Odin's Eye Booger

More of the fabulous Odin's Eye Damasteel. I did a good long acid etch on it and it really brought out the contrast. This piece is on it's way to a new home in Oregon. :)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Random Pics

Here's a few random pics of the handful of Wedgies that are completed so far.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Feeling like Fall

It's starting to get chilly here in the mornings but there is still only the faintest hint of color in the leaves. One of the nice things about New England and particularly our yard is the fantastic display of sugar maples, sumac and birch trees as they go through their yearly transformation. For a few weeks the color is brilliant, especially since there are a few yellow pines and spruce in the mix which adds some vivid green to the palette. The CT River is situated only about a mile away and usually at this time of year the falling temperatures cause the moist air coming up from the river to form an early morning mist which really adds to the other worldly feeling of the scene. It was one of the things I really liked about this spot from the beginning. Our house sits on a hillside and from my office window every morning I get a spectacular view of green yard and trees. It's a nice place to sip my coffee and think about what I need to do for the day before pulling on my work clothes and heading down to the basement shop.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Micro Card

This one is on it's way to a new home...more Mike Norris Hornet's Nest.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Stirring Up the Hornet's Nest

Hehe, Mike Norris Hornet's Nest that is. This is some of the prettiest stuff I have worked with. I had a bar of it some time ago and had to get another one. This is a new take on the little Skeeter keychain knife.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

More Fob Craziness

This is something Brian whipped up this past weekend...He doesn't have a name for it yet so I'm calling it the Alien Nutsack. Orange glowcord with this really cool glow in the dark fishing float inside. Will have to test it out but I suspect it will float a small knife.

Monday, September 04, 2006

I've Been Kinda Quiet Lately...

....But I promise I will shake myself out of my late summer torpor and get back to posting soon! :) I have loads of knives and tools about to go into heat treat. My heat treating oven element broke on me last week and put me out of commission for a few days but I ordered a new one and a spare now so things should be good to go. Installed the new parts on Friday and did a quick test to confirm that it was indeed the element that was the problem. Keeping my fingers crossed as I have Spanners, Keytons, Imps, Bug Out Blades and Boogers going into this firing.

In the meantime I have a couple of new items to photograph and post and will do so when I get a chance.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

What's a Wedgie?

Well, the traditional definition involves a dastardly deed in which the unlucky recipient has their underpants grabbed from behind and forceably pulled up their butt crack. Unpleasant to be sure. But I decided that it would be a great name for a new tool....

The Wedgie is what I call a "Kubatool". It measures 5 inches long by well over 1/4" thick and is made of the super tough CPM 3V steel. It is configurable, that is you can take the cord wrap off and make it into a koppo stick or use it bare. There are 5 evenly spaced holes drilled in the tool so you can cord wrap or tie finger loops in several different ways. The tool could go on your keyring or in your pocket and comes standard with a protective piece of tubing slipped over the end to keep it pocket friendly. I will also be making optional kydex sheaths for them for neck or belt carry. Can be used as a kubaton, a koppo stick or my personal favorite which is prytool, chisel or wedge.

There have been many other kubatons on the market before but I think this one is rather unique. Definitely puts the phrase "giving a Wedgie" in a whole new light. :) Will have the first batch available in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

New Wharncliffes

I'm having a lot of fun with these two new pieces!

The CPMS30v Wharncliffe Booger is really cute on the keychain and makes for a very practical small blade. Wear it around the neck and it just about disappears under your shirt. I will be appropriating one for myself I think. :)

The CPM 3v Wharncliffe Scout makes for a slightly larger package but it is even more useful as a utility blade. Nice EDC piece for a belt or as a low profile neck knife.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Been Experimenting

Here's something new and different, a damascus belt buckle! Made of Mike Norris Raindrop damascus with a nickel silver backing and exactly sized for a 1 inch wide belt. The buckle was a collaboration with my good friend John Moore who has been a jewelry and buckle maker for 25 years. His father of the same name may be familiar to some readers as the owner of Mission Knife and Tool. This is a one off piece and I'm not sure if any others will be made or not, will be extremely limited quantities if so.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Tanto Booger

This was the last of a series of 3, Mike Norris Raindrop damascus.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Another Tool Knife

I'm really digging this little guy. Calling it the Scout. First in a series of protos...


My buddy Brian has started making these cool little flat fobs. These are the latest and feature 3 titanium 1/4-20 nuts tied into them. I believe he will be offering them in plain, bead blast, or anodized finishes. The nuts make great worry beads for twiddling. :) (you can turn them) He's on vacation for another week or so but we'll be seeing lots more of this stuff coming.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

More Nano Madness

This was the ? piece from below. I thought it turned out quite nice from such humble beginnings. :) On it's way to a new home today.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Fan Mail

I have gotten some very cool letters over the years. Lots of fine folks have taken a moment to thank me for my tools and service. I appreciate everyone who takes time to send me a note! It really makes my day when I know that my gear has arrived safely and that the recipient is enjoying it.

Every once in a while though something comes over the transom that is just too cool for words. Got this today from a good customer who also just happens to be an archaeologist:

"Hello, Peter!

I just returned from Tibet, Mongolia, and Siberia on Tuesday and thought I'd drop you a line to tell you how much good use I've gotten out of the tools you provided. The whistles were especially helpful in keeping track of one another in deep canyons and the knife was constantly on my hip all summer...I used it for everything from cutting rope to skinning a sheep and it works just great. Of course, I'm now unable to function without a PryBaby on my person, so I'm looking forward anxiously to having one in Damascus some day...
Anyway, thanks for all your great work, Peter!"

That was definitely the letter of the week! :)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

What Is the Next Cool Thing?

That's the question I am trying to answer every day. Here are some of the other questions that often pop up at the same time....

What would that cool new thing be? If I did come up with something how many should I make and how should I make them? How much would it cost to make them? How much time would it take me? How many steps would be involved and can any of them be eliminated? Is there a better way to make this thing? Is there a cheaper way to make it? Is there an element that would give it something extra and would that be worth considering? What if it doesn't fly, then what?

So I make a proto. Damn, this thing is pretty neat! I bet I could sell a couple of them anyway so it's probably worth putting them out. Which brings me to the next round....

How much should I charge for them? What if that price is too much? What if it is too little? Can I afford to discount them to dealers? What materials should I use? Do I have enough material in stock? If I add another thing to my lineup will I still have time to make everything else? If this thing turns out to be a big seller will I have to drop other items in my lineup just because I don't have time to make all this stuff by myself? Will I lose my mind trying to keep up with it all?

What about all those things people are clamoring for? What about that batch of such and such that I promised to So and So about two months ago. If I make these now I won't have time to get to So and So's stuff. How about Dealers A, B, C, and D? I don't have a clue when I'll get time for them but I really do have to keep them happy.

What about the holidays? It sure would be nice to have some of these for the holidays. But if I make these now what about all the other stuff I was thinking I will need for the holidays? Like whistles and Prybabies® and Bug Out Bars and Imps and Goblins and Micro Bug Out Blades and Micro Cards and Boogers and all those titanium versions of items?

Damn it! They're too cool. I HAVE to make some.

So you see, that's what I'm up against everytime I think about the next item. Will it be worth it? I sure hope so. What will that next thing be? Well, you'll just have to wait to see for yourself. :)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I just have to say a few words about the gadget and gear forum The guy who started and owns the board, Jon S. Burlison, is just a total class act. He is a very bright and generous person who I have spoken to a few times on the phone and exchanged quite a few emails and messages. Jon is full of cool ideas and really has his head on straight as far as I can see. Recently I tried to send him some funds in support of the forums and he called me to tell me that he was returning the funds, that he felt I had already done alot to support the forums and get it going. Then he followed that with an order for my gear. Wow. Hat's off to you Jon! :)

I also have to thank Monica for a great job in maintaining the forums and the other great moderators such as Karen, Heath, Todd, Bravo 25 and probably others that I am forgetting. You guys are just great! I would also be remiss if I didn't mention a few of the wonderful members such as GG, DH, Knightrider, TKC, KMCrawford, M Tex, Joe G., Badgerboy, Stillphoto, Jem, Simbad, Colby and many many others. Every board needs a bunch of hardcore regulars to keep it going.

What I really like about the edcforums crowd is that the group is very diverse and that helps give a fresh perspective on things. Since the board isn't focussed primarily on just one thing such as knives or guns as most other boards are, it allows for a lot more discussion on other pieces of gear, general carry methods and day to day strategies for preparedness. And it tends to bring in a lot more of the flashlight and techie folks into the usual mix which I think really adds a nice dimension to the discussions.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Damascus #2

Here was piece #2 from the batch below. Man, I love that Odin's Eye!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Elements of Design

There is a rule of thumb in the knife and tool world that when you are about to make something that might be close to someone else's design that you contact the other maker out of courtesy and ask if the design or even elements of the design are too close to theirs. I have done this with other makers and people have come to me and shown the same courtesy. It is the polite and respectful way to go about it.

Usually the concern is nothing to get excited about and the prospective maker was being a little too sensitive and overreacting to a specific element that they thought was similar to the original. Often there is no cause for concern and the original maker gives their blessing and seal of approval to carry on. But if something does prove to be a little too close then the parties have a chance to work out the differences and avoid public embarassment and confrontations.

Recently I came upon an instance where there was a disagreement but we have resolved our differences to the satisfaction of both parties. Lessons learned on both sides and we're both the better for it. :)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Damasteel Mini

Hey, remember the Odin's Eye Damasteel pieces I had shown below? Here's how the first piece came out, the Mini:

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Peek in the Oven

A peek in the oven. Temp was at about 1700F. on it's way to 1950F.

After Heat Treat

Here are some pieces after heat treat. You can see the thin scale and discoloration. After bead blasting these will become a uniform gray in appearance.