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Canberra Custom Knife Show

By tvf 28 January 2009 17

Australia’s top knife makers will be returning to Canberra again this year on January 31st for the annual Canberra Custom Knife Show to show off their latest creations.

The ancient craft of forging one of our oldest tools is experiencing a surge in popularity across Australia. More and more people are appreciating the high quality of a hand made knives for every day use.

Makers will have for sale hand made knives – across an extensive range of styles – hunting, kitchen, utility, sporting, folding, martial arts and collectable knives. Also featured will be “Damascus” steel knives made with hundreds of layers of steel forged into intricate patterns using 1000 year old techniques.

Interested people will be able to spend time discussing personal needs with each of the makers to ensure they purchase the right blade for the required task. It is a unique opportunity for all to learn, share and catch up on the past 12 months of making beautiful yet practical art pieces.

Public are invited to the Knife Show being held at the Embassy Motel in Deakin.

The show runs from 9am until 5pm on Saturday 31st January.

Admission is $5 with accompanied children under 12 admitted free.

For further information visit

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Canberra Custom Knife Show
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tvf 6:33 am 29 Jan 09


There are some pictures on my website of the kind I make, see,com_zoom/Itemid,30/catid,2/

or look at the Australian Knifemakers Guild website to see what some of the other makers who are coming do,com_zoom/Itemid,37/

They should give you an idea. Apologies for link – not sure how to insert pictures into the post (or edit the start).

What’s often the best part of a custom knife is the feel. They generally fit you hand alot better than factory ones – which have very squarish handles that assume everyone’s hands are the same. I know I spend a fair bit of effort making it to fit the clients hand – I look at size, are they left or right handed and what they want to use it for. I’ve made quite a few for people with arthritis who need a larger handle to be able to cut things in the kitchen. Knives are a very tactile object, probably part of the appeal.

I’m sure you’ll be impressed if you coe along

Granny 2:00 am 29 Jan 09

Oh, well! That’s not too bad for starters. Can you open tins with them?

It would be nice if they had some pictures for this thread. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a custom knife.

p1 11:01 pm 28 Jan 09

Lets see. I cut food (of all sorts, often tomatoes for sandwiches), I cut the label off some new sandals the other day because I couldn’t snap it, friend used it to trim a loose thread from his motorcycle pants. That is all in the last couple of days.

Granny 10:44 pm 28 Jan 09

What sort of things do you cut, p1? My mum was given a swiss army knife which was fantastically useful. It’s amazing how often you can need a knife when you don’t have one.

p1 10:36 pm 28 Jan 09

Yup, law is a bit vague in my opinion when it comes to knives. Personally, if ever asked why I am carrying one, (and I almost always am), I will say it is because I sometimes need to cut things. I have no idea how that will go in court, but it will have to do, because it is the truth. I do leave it at home when going to the pub or similar though.

tvf 5:06 pm 28 Jan 09

I think it is illegal to carry one around without a reason. Otherwise if you buy a kitchen knife at Woollies you’re breaking the law driving home.

Running around Friday night with a knife in your pocket after a few ales, probably isn’t legal.

Licenses (or permits) are required for prohibited weapons – which will not be on display or for sale at the Show.

BerraBoy68 4:51 pm 28 Jan 09

I can see the artwork in this, but I do have a question?

I understand it’s illegal to carry them around so if you buy one do you need a licence to transport it home?

p1 3:18 pm 28 Jan 09

I’m sold. See you there.

tvf 2:55 pm 28 Jan 09

p1 said :

I’m interested, because I like knives. I am a little concerned that it will be lots of fanciful, dragon and jewel encrusted monstrosities rather then well designed functional knives though…

Pretty much all the knives are designed as “using” knives for sport or kitchen or general purpose knives. There are a few high end art knives, which are more collectable/investment knives. I am sure you won’t be dissapointed if you like well made tools. Most makers coming belong to tv Australian Knifemakers Guild which have very high entry standards.

p1 2:06 pm 28 Jan 09

I’m interested, because I like knives. I am a little concerned that it will be lots of fanciful, dragon and jewel encrusted monstrosities rather then well designed functional knives though…

tvf 1:01 pm 28 Jan 09

Wasn’t that last weekend at CanCon?

Holden Caulfield 12:50 pm 28 Jan 09

Will there be a Dungeons and Dragons room set aside, or a WOW network?

Skidbladnir 12:14 pm 28 Jan 09

There are mines in the US which are resembling wootz apparently, so if someone has the right technique, they -could- be making Damascus.

This man claims to be one.

tvf 11:59 am 28 Jan 09

Well, given the rarity you have described, I’d be amazed if there were wootz blades kicking around the show tables for sale. Not sure if the makers takes hands as payment, unless they are particulary fine hands Johnboy.

Great link. A few years back I met some people interested in making wootz. They described making a “soup” of engredients in a crucible then melting it all together. The composition of the “soup” was a bit of a secret though.

Skidbladnir 11:48 am 28 Jan 09

Pattern welding gives the curly irregular patterns, but are still just imitating the Damascus pattern, hence “Damascened”.
Wootz was an ore of unusual chemical composition (unique to southern India and bits of the Americas apparently, significantly high in several trace elements, which was mined from 30BC until some point in the Rennaissance when the ore veins ran out) which when fired appropriately, and forged by people who knew what was going on, did it naturally by condensing into bands within the blade.

I would quite happily sell both of Johnboy’s hands for a real Damascus (wootz) blade.

Have a stickybeak at
The Key Role of Impurities in Ancient Damascus Steel Blades, J.D. Verhoeven, A.H. Pendray, and W.E. Dauksch 1998

tvf 10:32 am 28 Jan 09

Damascus as in folding layers of different steels until there are several hundred layers. Then manipulating the steel so that patterns form. Shape then etch in acid to bring out the pattern. Sometimes more correctly termed “pattern welded steel”.

Wootz, as I understand, is how the steel is smelted, then worked to produce a visible grain like structure. This is a very lost art with much debate on how to make make authentic wootz. Something I have little experience at this stage.

Skidbladnir 10:14 am 28 Jan 09

“Damascus” as in wootz, or cosmetic “Damascened”?

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