Bladesmiths: Get the “EDGE” on your Knife Making Competition

Waterjet Cut Tempered Steel Medieval Sword Blanks - BladeSmiths Knife Making at JIT Companies

Waterjet cut tempered steel medieval sword blanks.

Lately, I’ve been binge-watching certain television shows and two of my favorites are going to be cooking shows (And yes, my waistline shows it) and the latest one is “Forged in Fire”. If you haven’t seen it, contestants are given the challenge to fabricate a finished knife blade in a limited time frame using unconventional raw materials to work with. The knives must meet certain knife making design and strength parameters as determined by the judges and in the end, someone walks away with a check for $10,000.

Old School & High Tech Bladesmiths

I find it interesting how each person determines the best way to proceed with a project which is usually based on the equipment they have to work with. Now, from what I can determine, bladesmiths can be a different breed when it comes to the way they do things. Some are hardcore Old Schoolers, meaning they have only the basic equipment to work with like a belt grinder, some hand tools, and of course, a forge that allows them to heat form and temper their beautiful metal blade and knife creations. Others might spare no expense in equipping their shops with the best tools money can buy, which by the way can get to be very expensive. Either way, I’m impressed with the end results and superb craftsmanship.

Knife Artists & their Masterpieces

Custom knife blanks cut from old hand saws - Knife making at JIT Companies

Custom knife blanks cut from old hand saws.

With a quick Google search, you soon realize that the number of sword and knife makers (aka Bladesmiths) in the United States is shocking. I would have thought that maybe there would be a few thousand but there are literally 100,000 plus doing this at a hobby level or full time, making a living at it. The ones that are at the top of their game produce some of the most desirable and collectible knives found and are true works of art…and the prices they command prove it. There are some savvy collectors who have knives with values of up to $50,000 in their collections that are truly stunning in detail. I’ve come across websites that show and produce custom knives ranging in prices from $750 – $2500 for limited editions. The most beautiful ones are always sold out and there can be a waiting list of up to two years if you want one from some of the more notable names in the knife-making world. First of all, I want to be clear that I’m not a knifemaker, nor do I have the skill set to be one. But on the other hand, if I was and I could sell my creations for $1000 a piece, why wouldn’t I want to make 15 or 20 of them at the same time? I know, true artists don’t like to make the same thing more than once, I get that. But Henry Ford did not make the Model T, one at a time, but that’s just how I think.

Skeleton drop from tempered steel knife blank waterjet cutouts - Bladesmiths love working with JIT Companies for Knife Making

Skeleton drop from tempered steel knife blank waterjet cutouts.

Waterjet Cutting Knives & Saws

At JIT Companies, we specialize in precision waterjet cutting. We have a few knife makers that have figured it out, realizing that if their custom knife blanks were provided cut to shape with even precision rivet holes in the handles, they could produce more in less time. A perfect example of this would be our friends at Arms & Armor in Minneapolis, who specialize in medieval swords and weapons (see video below). Their attention to historic detail in the creations these artisans produce is simply stunning and unmatched. By waterjet cutting their already tempered material to shape, it allows them to forgo the heat-treating process and save days in the fabrication process. Another recent customer brought in some rusty handsaws from which he produces custom fish fillet knives. The beauty of waterjet cutting is that it does not affect the structure of the metal as it is a cold cutting process and does not create stress in the material….and it’s fast.

Cutting Sword Blanks for Arms & Armor (Video)

JIT Would Love to Hear from You!

Fish Fillet Knife blanks cut from hand saw - Blade Smiths work with JIT Companies for knife making

Fish Fillet Knife blanks cut from a hand saw.

Whether you are a seasoned, professional Bladesmith or a beginning knife maker just looking to get an “EDGE” up on your competition, let JIT Companies be in your corner. We’ll never be the ones to produce those “One-of-a-Kind” custom knives and swords but we would be the perfect waterjet project partner to help you to achieve your goals as a Master Bladesmith. Contact us today at 507-326-5240 or contact us online to discuss your next knife design. You’ll be glad you did!

Request a Quote

Do you have a blog post idea or project you would like us to feature?  Maybe you just want to reach out and let Ron know what you think of this project or get some advice.  Give Ron a call at (507) 326-5240 or email him at ron@jitcompanies.com and you may see your idea featured in JIT’s next blog post!