Tag Archives: Custom Knives

Dear Santa, What knife do you use with Reindeer?

17 Dec

Here at RR we often use knives more than pens or pencils.

As Christmas and the  Holidays approach, we find our thoughts drifting from Corten to brightly wrapped goodies that make us giggle with delight!

What? Old Montana Miscreants can giggle! So what if it sounds like Elk’s coughing and snorting! 🙂

Living in Montana has taught me many things. When we’re not welding on boxes or pouring pilings, we don’t linger on the couch. We live outdoors. Our trucks and horses are our transportation to the places where we hunt, we fish and we work in one of the most beautiful and challenging environments in the United States.

We’re tool users.

And one of the most essential tools in Montana is a good knife. To live here (or in any other challenging environment) you need a high-quality, do-everything-you-throw-at-it hunting knife. If you or yours hike, hunt or fish, you’re in the same boat, rowing against the current! We don’t have to wander far from our porches to see Deer, Elk, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Antelope and even Bears. The broad variety of all that game requires that we carry a knife with several key abilities.

Add the rigors of Bushcraft (the lost art of thriving in the wilds) to that and you’re looking for a very special knife indeed.

As a result, we’re always on the hunt for a really nice Hand Crafted AMERICAN MADE blade at a really good price that is purpose driven and ready for bird or beast.  In our opinion, the right hunting knife is designed to tackle many tasks; Hunting, surviving in the bush and even tactical duties right down to it’s handle.

First, a great hunting knife must be sharp and it must be easily resharpened when you get back to camp.

Second, it better be “Tonka Tough”. A great hunting knife has to be tough enough to handle use and abuse.  If “Sharp” is it’s first name, “Strength” has to be it’s middle name. A great hunting knife  must be strong enough to power through elk sockets and agile enough to skin a deer without making it look like you killed it by tearing it apart with a sawed off shotgun.

It’s ergonomic handle must allow multiple grip options to accommodate any task at hand. A great hunting knife has to be easy to handle in the gloom and doom of dusk and dark, as well as in the snow or cold pouring rain. A great hunting knife will be nimble and quick when it’s covered in elk blood when you’re elbow deep, trying to get the carcass processed before the bears show up to eat somebody…

Well, after a lot of searching (and a lot of knife education) we found a blade that we really like and we’ve been putting it to the test on beast and bird, elk and turkeys with great success.

Long-time readers know that we’ve had some bumps along this road. It forced us to learn a LOT about blades AND their makers. But it doesn’t mean we quit.

We kept looking and then the clouds parted. Okay, actually, we found this guy on the Internet. When we discovered him, it was lust at first sight. This guy crafts blades that make you proud even before you strap them on.

It's CHOPPER time!

When we spoke to him (at length) and gave him our wish list, the discussions started in earnest. We traded literally a thousand emails and PMs back and forth over weeks. We told him what we wanted, he told us what we DIDN’T want… and then he started working to produce a blade that he even named in our honor;

He calls it; “The Bitterroot”

We call it; “The ‘Root”.

Frankly we nicknamed it so that we don’t spill beer out of our mouths trying to use 4 syllable words when we try to talk about it during supper… 🙂

The knifemaker’s name is Kieran Klein (no relation). He runs a Custom Knife Shop called the “Hammer Down Forge”. His claim to fame is that he builds “high quality, affordable, purpose driven blades for the common man”. And he doesn’t just “talk about it”. He actually DOES it. Man, does he do it…

Take a look;


He became our blade building hero seemingly overnight because… not all of us can afford $1,000 Collector EDCs that never see the light of dawn in the field. Kieran told us that from day one, his goal was to build affordable, high quality EDCs, Skinners, Hunters and Camp blades for “us little guys”.

And stuff like THIS...

Kieran really builds for “us”. You know, the kind of guys who use their lunch money and what’s left of their paychecks to buy great gear, one piece at a time after weeks of saving up…

He’s dedicated his trade to that. I hear that he even has a ‘Hawk in the works.

And this...

Now as disclosure, I have to reveal that I personally own one of Hammer Down Forge’s blades now. It’s handled every test we’ve thrown at it. It’s powered through game (large or small) with ease. It’s strong, light and fast. It’s wicked sharp. We really couldn’t be happier with it. Several of us have fielded this blade to test it’s steel. All of us are smiling. Well, most of us are smiling. Some guys scowl when they have to give it back. Me? I’m grinning like a Cheshire Cat.

In fact, I have Kieran making me another one for delivery early next year.

(The reason should be obvious. It’s because this blade will probably disappear before then… my co-workers are thieving, coveting miscreants and they’ve all flat told me not to leave it laying around where it might grow legs and walk off.) 🙂

BubbaBlade1In fact, THIS is my blade. And, I couldn’t be happier with it. I wear it daily. I have to. People keep picking it up and carrying it off! LOL!

I’m not kidding. When the box arrived from Virginia, I had to go track it down. The knife had already made the rounds of the shop and people were trying to hide it. Apparently, I work with a group of no-good, disloyal, kleptomaniacs… LOL!  🙂

Beyond being a high quality blade that will make you smile from ear to ear right out of the box, your ‘Root will look almost the same as mine. There are a few little differences.  The finish on your blade will be “antiqued” and not “satin”. That means that it’ll be slightly darker and much more durable than the finish on my blade. It’ll make that Central American Cocobolo handle really pop! In fact, when I saw his “new” finish, I was disappointed that it wasn’t on MY blade! LOL! Guess what finish is going on the new blade he’s building me?

Say it with me; “ANTIQUED”.  LOL!

The Central American Cocobolo handle will be slightly different because after all, Cocobolo comes from a tree and not a printing press! The pattern will be very similar. It’ll be rich and lustrous and  sexy. And, it’ll be as smooth as a baby’s butt. 🙂

The leather on your sheath will be scribed with a cool border pattern that outlines it and highlights the kydex sheath. I asked for “Something sporty” so he scribed mine with a racing stripe. He did it because “I’m Special”…

Oh stop it! I know it’s true. My mom used to tell me that every day before she crowbarred me into that “little white bus” and then fastened my football helmet on my pointy little head before I departed for that gulag they called a school. In fact, if my mother was still alive, she’d probably forbid me from playing with a knife this sharp. 🙂

FYI: I’ll warn you up front that I’m not kidding. This knife came to us out of the box wicked sharp.

BubbaBlade2Kieran just told us that he has just (1) ‘Root left available for Christmas and he wanted to save it for one of our lucky readers.  He’s building it right now, just for us.

“The Bitterroot” Blade
Shallow Drop Point Hunter
Full Tang Knife
15n20 Steel – Antique finish
1/8th” thick blade with Jimped Spine
Full Flat Grind with .012 behind the edge
4″ blade – razor sharp
8.5″ overall length

Palm Swell Contoured handle
Central American Cocobolo with G10 Liners
Carbon Fiber pins and lanyard tube

Kydex/8-9oz Shoulder leather sheath (with border scribing) and Chicago Screws

It skins like there’s no tomorrow and it slices like a pro. In fact, around here, it’s an EDC of dreams… 🙂

This is a $400.00 knife, all day. Knives of similar quality by other knifemakers will cost you upwards of $600.00.

The first $300.00 will put it under your tree for Christmas.

He’s included Priority Shipping and insurance via USPS in the price. Buy it before Monday the 22nd and it’ll arrive Priority Mail in time to find it’s way into your present pile!

You can contact Kieran at Hammer Down Forge by sending email to:


Or call him direct at:

HE lives in some strange country called “Virginia”… He speakee good Engrish, so it’s probably not even a toll call… 🙂
Tell him Bubba sent you.

What? You thought Santa was going to do everything? 🙂

Ho ho ho!

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You’re only as good as your tools…

17 May

Many of you guys and gals know that when I’m not helping families build homes (using ISBUs and alternative building practices) I’m teaching families sustainability.

I’m a “tool-user”. My work is reflection of my experience, my knowledge and my tool quality. I’m sure that’s true for most folks.

In the real world – You’re only as good as your tools, regardless as to whether it’s a welder, a hammer or a knife.

Many of my readers know that I’m preparing for Spring (and it’s chores) by getting my tools ready. Because of that, I have my own personal blade artisan now. Here in Montana, life “in the field” means staking your life on your tools.  🙂

It’s senseless to try to do a quality job with an inferior tool, designed with profit in mind, instead of performance. This logic trickles all the way down to the knife on my hip.

Seth Ellis is a “rising star” in the custom knife craft and he’s “old-schooling it”…  building his reputation one incredible blade at a time.

He’s so good at what he does that he builds (by hand) personal blades for his Mentors (at their request), some of the biggest names in the knife kingdom.

Spring brings opportunities for all of us. And in an odd kind of way, it’s brought YOU an opportunity if you’re looking for a great knife.

Seth Ellis goes by the name of “Knifemaker Idaho” on Facebook. He has quite a following. They follow for a reason. He’s a “Metal Messiah”.

And, now he’s sharing an incredible blade with some lucky tool-user.

This was to be HIS personal EDC – Every Day Carry. It was to be HIS blade.  Like the rest of his incredible blades, you know he poured his heart and soul into it’s creation. I’m betting that’s there’s a tiny bit more “SETH” in this one. After all, a knife artist is known by the blade on his own hip.

Seth Ellis "Skinner"

Seth Ellis “Skinner”

LOOK at the blade. Note the killer Hamon (that pattern in the blade – it’s the REAL deal).

Purple Heart and Copper. IT doesn't get much better than this. :)

Purple Heart and Copper. IT doesn’t get much better than this. 🙂

Look at the Purple Heart handle.

Pretty Spine!

Pretty Spine!

This knife is just incredible. This is easily a $500-$600 knife, folks.

"My Preciousssssssss"

“My Preciousssssssss”

I’ll just let HIM describe it;

Seth says:

“Here’s one I got up for sale. Skinner/E.D.C. 1095 high carbon with a hamon and some cool etching effects. Copper bolsters. The handle is purple heart with grey spacers.

$400 and no barters/trades this time. I need some cash to fuel projects.”

Blade Spec’s:

Blade Material: 1095 Steel

Handle Material: Purple Heart with Grey Vulcanized spacers.

Blade Length: 4.75″

Blade Width: 2.0″

Blade Thickness: .0125″ (1/8th inch)

Handle Length: 4″

Handle Width: 1.0125″ x .75″

Bolster Composition: Copper

Price: $400 (negotiable – a little 😉 )

Contact Seth directly on Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/knifemaker.idaho

or at: knifemakerinidaho@yahoo.com

Somebody is going to get one hell of a knife. I wish my budget would stretch this far… Wow. Just Wow.

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