Two sophomores have bonded over a unique hobby that they both happen to share. Using steel to make everything from a Camp Bowie knife to a Karambit knife, King Archer and Eric Smith get in touch with their creativity to produce something of interest.
“Last winter Eric (Smith) came over because we shared an interest in knife making,” sophomore King Archer said.
Camp Bowie Knife: It was designed by Colonel James Bowie to be a portable fighting knife. It should be longer and heavier than a dagger but shorter than a saber.
Karambit knife: The ancestor of the modern karambit first surfaced in Indonesia during the 11th century as a farming tool and utility blade. A Karambit has a curved or hooked blade, an ergonomic handle and usually includes at least one safety ring.
[/sidebar]Archer became interested in knife making by reading about it and watching YouTube videos.
“I learned everything I know from reading and watching blacksmiths on YouTube,” Archer said.
Normally looking online for design ideas, Archer and Smith decided to get together and start making their own knives. Once they have a design, they decide what steel to make them out of. They’ve mostly used saw blades, but they’ve also used steel blanks and files.
“After you come up with the design and and cut it from the metal, you pick your handle, and basically just make it how you want,” Archer said.
Smith and Archer had commented that the materials can be expensive, but they were lucky enough that Archer already had the tools to make them.
“Knives aren’t necessarily hard to make, but they can take a long time for them to come out the way you want them to,” sophomore Eric Smith said.
They use a handheld grinder to cut the steel for the knife. After that, they used a grinding wheel to get the shape basic edge on the knife. They then do more grinding as needed, then use a brush to clean up the metal. After that, they shape the handle using files and sandpaper. Then, they polish the metal and sharpen the blade. This process is what can take time to make the result come out as desired.
“We’ve been doing it kinda out of boredom and kinda cause we wanted our knives done a certain way. Also it’s fun,” Smith said.
Archer and Smith have made plenty of knives, but there are some that they favored over the rest.
“The best knife in my opinion was a Camp Bowie knife, which is very good looking and took lots of time to create. It was polished and had a yellow handle,” Archer said.
A Bowie knife is a knife that is longer than 6 inches with a sharp, wide blade.
Smith also had a favorite type of knife that he enjoyed the most. Last year, they made two Karambits out of old saw blades with paracord wrapped around the handle. A Karambit has a curved or hooked blade, an ergonomic handle and usually includes at least one safety ring.
“We polished the karambits and weaved the paracord into cool designs, and the knives were fun to swing around and they worked pretty well,” Smith said.
While this isn’t a hobby everyone will be fond of, it is something these two sophomores have definitely become interested in.
“I think the reason I became interested in making knives is because it is an art form and it takes a long time to get perfect,” Archer said.