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What Is a Custom Handmade Knife?

Learn about custom handmade knives in this Howcast video with expert Dan Delavan.


Hi. My name is Dan Delavan. I am the Owner/Operator of Plaza Cutlery in Costa Mesa, CA. We have a great selection. We also have a website and today we are going to be talking about knives.

Custom knives are made by individuals, guys that set up shops usually in their garages or if they have a big enough place they will set up a specific area in order to make knives in their home. One of the early makers from Arizona, he has his own style, is Dalton Holder, lives in Arizona. He is kind of known, they call it the Arizona style or the Holder style. This particular one is an Eskimo artifact, where it has where they spun their wood on it in order to start a fire on a piece of fossilized walrus. It also has amber and usek (sp), I believe Dee's wife did the engraving on it and of course, Dee made it and Dee trained a lot of makers. There are a lot of knife makers that emulate his style.

Another popular style of a knife right now is tactical knives. This is a Brian Ty from Canada. It has a titanium handle and has an ATS 30 Core blade. This one is a little bit unique because it has tritium in the thumb studs and also in the button lock. This one, to release it, the button is right here and to open it pull back real quick and it will open up. It is kind of what we call a flipper. The he has some grooves ground in the blade to give it an interesting look. Again, he has got the pocket clip on the back side. It is actually a pretty thin knife for the size of it.

Another fixed blade popular style is R.W. Loveless, Bob Loveless, made famous this particular style a knife, mostly in hunting knives but also in fighters. This is a Shagino (sp). It is a Japanese knife maker that we have been dealing with that does really excellent work, a really good value. The grinds are perfect, solders are perfect on it. This one has a desert ironwood handle.

There are also a lot of slip joint knife makers. This one is Bill Ruple with damasks blades, damasks bolsters and fossilized mammoths on the handle. It's a beautiful knife. There is a lot of work in it. Bill also is known for file work down on the back of it. The neat thing about custom slip joints is when you open and close them they have a certain snap to them that just sound really good.

There are all kinds of makers that make these styles of knives. When I first started in this there were probably about 50 makers, now there are probably about 5,000. There are probably not that many but there are a lot of makers. You can pretty much get anything you want. There are guys that do real elaborate work, remakes of old, historical pieces, (?) to fantasy pieces.

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