For over 5 years now Ironside Edge Works has been making handmade defensive custom knives. We have worked to perfect our pikal knives in particular, which is something very close to our hearts, and we feel we have come close to creating a perfect system – if there is such a thing – for making custom knives of this sort.
A custom defensive knife is a strange niche. People both use them and collect them, some people want a purely utilitarian knife that won’t kill their budget, others want an artistic expression which can be collected, cherished as an heirloom, or even sold for a higher price oneway. Then there is everyone in between. It’s been a very challenging problem to solve for us to get this balancing act just right. But its a challenge we have always strived to conquer, and straddle the line between function and form.
We feel that this is best represented by our Tier 2 Custom Knives which give the buyer a very well designed and very much usable defensive EDC knife, which they can dress up to suit their own budget, taste and practical needs. It doesn’t really matter how you dress it up – the functionality is always going to be there. The Tier 2 Custom Knife gives you control over the aesthetics of your knife entirely, and some of the practical considerations as well.
The steel of choice for our Tier 2 Custom Knives, and a large percentage of everything else we make too, is 80Crv2. A complex high carbon steel known for its toughness, while also being fairly accommodating to many finishing options. It allows us to use very modern and maintenance free coatings like Cerakote, but also more traditional finishing processes like firearms bluing, which give a classic aesthetic appearance, albeit with slightly more maintenance needed. Neither choice really affects performance, but it does speak to the preferences of the owner.
The list of choices go on from there. There are a myriad of options for handles in terms of materials, colours, patterns and styles. Including our Tsukamaki handle which has been developed over years and arguably one of the things we do best. This is a heavily Japanese influenced handle option which condenses the spirit of the Japanese blade into our defensive custom knives.
That influence is not just fleeting, it runs through everything we do. We have always chased perfection, much like the traditional Japanese craftsperson does, always reaching for it, but knowing ultimately that it can never, truly, be attained. Perfection remains our goal and we never stop trying to improve or refine our work in any possible way. It is why we often refer to our knives as “Divine Companions” – alluding to the Japanese Shinto belief that man made objects can be imbued with spirits. It’s this tradition that led the Samurai to believe their swords were more than just tools of war, but contained in them spirits which could help them to victory. There is perhaps something to this idea, we like to think, that if we give enough of ourselves to our craft, that the tools we make and help bring to life, however simple or complicated, may help us in return one day.
Whatever a customer chooses for their Tier 2 Custom Knife, we pursue it with purpose. We can never promise perfection, but we can promise we will try get as close to it as we can. Whether you are looking for a simple, functional defensive EDC knife, or a more ornate defensive knife to wear on special occasions and maybe pass down to a younger generation someday, we will treat each one with the same respect.
After all, these are objects that command respect. They have the ability to save lives, as well as end them. That is something we must never forget.