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Author Topic: Fishing Knives; an unforseen adventure  (Read 2480 times)
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georgela1
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« on: May 29, 2009, 07:31:56 AM »

This started out with a good friend, an avid fisherman, who asked me to make him a fishing knife for fileting. OK, not something I really wanted to do but, he's a good friend. So, I began by telling him there were plenty of fishing knives out there and I prefer a high performance custom knife. His challange was "make me something unique in material and style, that is NOT like the rest".

Oh my, the opportunity to create something different. Well, I thought for quite awhile, hoping he would forget.........he didn't, so I went to work. First was the blade material. In the Florida waters, lots of fresh and sea (salt) filet knives rust and corrode. So, for blade material, I chose Titanium 6A1-4V, an aerospace grade I had some pieces of.  Stronger than steel, lighter, but most important.......it will not be affected by the reaction with saltwater, No corrosion, period. Now the downside of Titanium, it is tough to harden above 40 on the rockwell C scale. Well, I went with a process I knew that coated the blade with a super hard material, Tungsten Carbide (about 70-75 on the Rockwell C scale). I made a prototype, tested it, and the combination blew me (and him) away. It was a nice combination that continued to cut and cut. Next was a handle. So, I like a style that looks OK but performs better. I played with some different designs and came up with what is shown in the picture. It really feel comfortable in your hand.

Well, the word got out and now I have lots of interest from all kinds of fisherman. The knife is not hard to make. I can make it in about 4-6 hours. Cut the profile of the blade on my bandsaw (out of an 90 thou piece), no heat treating required, coat the blade with Tungsten carbide, fashion the handle, place it in a cheap pre-made plastic sheath and, your done.

I've made nine so far, have a lot more interest, but I'm telling folks........."I will only make a few, and ONLY in my spare time" I'm not interested in making lots.

So..........for the lesson, be careful how you put your knowledge to use, the results may surprise you.

George    



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georgela1
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2009, 07:54:58 AM »

A second photo with sheath.

BTW Phil, that's the off-white buffalo hide the knives are on.


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jared williams
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2009, 11:30:50 AM »

sounds to me like you need to hire a high school kid to do most the work on these and make a few bucks on the side George!
   i like the knives!
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PhilL
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2009, 12:27:58 PM »

A second photo with sheath.

BTW Phil, that's the off-white buffalo hide the knives are on.

Great story, looks like a terrific knife with a good market potential.
The White Buffalo skin makes a nice background and I'm sure will make a nice sheath.

I do have a problem understanding the idea of turning away business. The fishing knife may not be your dream knife or something you would have made on your own, but a customer told you want he wanted in a Custom Knife. That knife leads to more potential customers for a similar piece, in my book that's Bread & Butter. These bread & butter projects fund your more creative work. At least that's how I looked at it when I was a working photographer.

I wonder what the market would be for a Titanium Chef's knife?
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Harold Locke
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2009, 11:09:31 AM »

George,

Very nice work. Looks like the pronghorn style handle has made it to the oceans. A couple of my fisherman friends out here in California, claim they would like me to someday make them fishing knife with a 12" blade form them and that is what the really need for large game fish. My skill level is not up to snuff yet, but if there really is a market for a blade that sounds like it could be a challange worth pursuing.

Harold Locke
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georgela1
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2009, 07:36:43 AM »

Thanks for the comments. I guess it caught me by surprise and I hadn't given it much thought that there would be this kind of interest in something so common and as available as a fishing filet knife.

You raise a good point Phil, one I really needed more time to mull over and I appreciate your pointing it out.

If I sounded like I was not interested, well............I was not "prepared" for people being that interested in my work.

In the last few days I've received orders for 7 more. I was asking $75 a piece and was told to ask for more because they are unique and they said they wouldn't mind that price for something handmade. I was just trying to cover a little bit of my time in these.

I've been using surplus stock I had laying around, but if I have to buy the titanium stock for the blades, it will not be cheap.

I will keep you posted on how this works out. I'm learning everyday.

George
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PhilL
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2009, 08:15:41 AM »

George, let me leave you with one more thought, if Michelangelo who considered himself a sculptor could spend four years on his back painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, maybe you could find the time to make some fishing knives. As long as you feel satisfied with the final results what could be wrong with that?
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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2009, 11:35:33 AM »

Way to go George: I saw knives at Blade show priced 5 times as high as your fishing knives and they weren't worth taking home. You may have a good back up for your other knives and build a customer base through them. Like PhilL I say go for it and have fun with it.
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JimmyR
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« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2009, 09:46:13 PM »

I like your creativity with the metals. Have you heard of that technique that involves coating only one side of a steel (or some other metal) blade with a super hard coating? It's an interesting concept: the softer, exposed metal edge wears quicker than the hard coating, and in theory (and apparently in practice) makes the knife self sharpening.
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georgela1
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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2009, 08:44:42 AM »

The next chapter.

Well, I went to the next step, said OK, I'll make them if you want them.

To my surprise, through word of mouth, I've sold a dozen (delivered) and have orders for 22 more. I raised the price to $125 and have been told that the way they perform (fileting fish), that they would pay more than that.

So far, the people who have used the knife say it outlasts (holds an edge) better than any fishing knife they have ever used. They also like that it is virtually maintenace free, doesn't rust or need resharpening before next use. (I would still like to get more results from others)

I believe the combination of Titanium with it's resistance to abrasion and corrosion, and the extra hard single coated edge that I apply, is the key for better performance for this (fileting) kind of application. I've also tested it on rope and it has a surprising stamina and toughness. I demonstrated a customers knife to him by cutting a 1" manilla rope with very little effort (several strokes). He couldn't believe it. I will post some pictures and results as soon as I get a chance.

The photos show the next 10 blades, a shot of the name I chose for them and an assembled knife (pieces) before eboxy and final shape finish.

I will keep you posted.........

Surprised and humbled,

George


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PhilL
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« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2009, 04:24:33 PM »

I wonder what the market would be for a Titanium Chef's knife?

George congratz on the success of your Fishing Knives.
I think you're just seeing the tip of the iceberg.

I wasn't kidding before when I mentioned a Titanium Chef's Knife, I think it would have huge market potential. You should ask your fishing knife customers would they be interested in your kitchen knives for themselves or their wives. You might also want to consider marketing your fishing knives as Boning Knives. Same design, different name, bigger market.
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JimmyR
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« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2009, 10:05:24 PM »

Wonderful news! What an interesting knife niche.
If you don't mind me asking, how did you perform the coating process?




































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georgela1
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« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2009, 05:05:57 AM »

Hi Jimmy,

I use an "ELECTRONIC CARBIDE METAL IMPREGNATOR" which is a piece of equipment that I am familiar with and has been in use in the Aerospace industry for many years.

These are some of the industrial applications:
- Perishable Tools & Dies: Reduce wear on high speed steel and carbide tooling
- Wood Industry:  Saws, cutters, planer blades, and chipper knives
- Maintenance:  Restore tolerances on bearings, shafts, and other wear areas
- Paper Products: Die cutting knives and shear blades

Thanks for your interest.
George
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georgela1
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« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2009, 05:28:47 AM »

Follow-up to a question raised last night on KTO about how flexable is a Titanium blade.

These pictures show an almost 90 degree bend. I've bent the blades further to the deforming and breaking point but feel this is a pretty good test.

These are before and after pix. The blade returned to normal without deforming.

George


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georgela1
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« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2009, 05:31:11 AM »

Sorry, meant to type 70 degree bend.
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