Archive for January, 2013


This is Legendary Knifemaker, Chuck Stapel’s Mountain Man skinner made from a ferrier’s file. If anyone is interested, I have another one of Chuck’s knives available (see September 2012 Archives)  uncarved – $200.00; carved – (contact me for price)

Here’s a picture before I started.

The handle is made from Elk antler. The next picture is the preliminary drawing for placement. I don’t get into detail here, I actually draw the picture as I carve, this is just for position.

After I tape the blade, I transfer the picture to the knife. I save the plastic tips from shipped knives to use on the tip of the blade, which always seems to poke thru the tape.

I start cutting along my outline & removing background, adding some detail along the way.

Yes, it’s anatomically correct.

The best way do describe my style is that I use my rotary tool like a pen and draw what I see. Like a pen, tattoo gun or graver, mistakes can’t be erased. But, sometimes, mistakes can be fixed. I wasn’t happy with the ear on this horse. It was the wrong shape and in the wrong position. It looked more like a wolf ear and needed to be moved closer to the top of the head. Problem is, I started carving the ear, in the wrong position.

Before Fix

After Fix

To fix this I had to smooth out the old ear, cut the new ear and blend in the horse’s hair. I also did some more work on the face, as you can see in the 2nd picture.

Stag, Bone, Ivory etc. will burn if you force the tool to cut faster by applying to much pressure. Let the tool and machine do the work.  I’m cutting down to a depth of approximately 3/32″ to 1/16″. I use a magnifying glass and reading glasses while I work, so taking pictures and posting them online is a big help for me. I really love the natural color and lines in this antler.
Here are the final pictures.

I’m suppose to keep track of the amount of hours I put into these knives, but I don’t because it would make me sick. I drive my husband nuts because I have so many hours into each one. He says I need to work faster. Attention to detail has always been my style and therefore I work until I’m satisfied. This knife has to be my best, because I want to impress Chuck Stapel.

I stained this piece with a colored wax. I also used some black tattoo ink with the wax on one of the horses to make it look different from the other. On the pommel, I burned a double horseshoe brand into the stag.

Unlike scrimshaw, carving the handle adds to the grip, making this a fully functional work knife that you can use without fear of rubbing out the design. In fact, handling the knife adds to the patina, bringing out the carving even more with age, giving the handle color that no one can reproduce.

I was given artistic freedom with this knife, but Chuck Stapel suggested putting brand marks on the handle like the ones cowboys burn into their livestock. I thought that was too easy, so I used my husband’s idea and carved fighting mustangs instead. The blade was made from a ferrier’s file and the horses fit the theme. Adding the double horseshoes on the pommel includes a piece of Chuck’s vision for this knife.


When I sent this to Chuck, I enclosed a letter with the knife quoting comments I received from the different knife forums where I posted this WIP. One of the comments from the guy who has 3 knives that I worked on, said


“Awesome work, Cathy! Love the topic, knife and your meticulous artwork. A beautiful piece showing your craftsmanship. If Mr. Stapel doesn’t like it… I’ll take it! “ Gary

Chuck called me the day he got it. He loved it! He said to tell Gary, “This one is His!”

So, What do you think?

I just want to say THANK YOU! to all who took the time to look at my Blog. I hope everyone has a better year in 2013. Here are my current stats…

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