Tag Archive: knifecarver


New FaceBook Page

I started a new FaceBook page @knifecarver. Please help me out by “liking” my page.

I’m working prolifically on some new stuff. I started carving souvenir spoons & making pendents out of them. Some of the tops can be salvaged & made into pendents too. The handles, which could be made into “spoon rings” on a larger spoon, were too small & brittle to bend. So, I made sword pendents out of them. (What else!) I carved the hilt out of beef bone. On some spoons I can make 3 pieces of jewelry. This is recycled/up-cycled art. Interested in purchasing a pendent? Message me on my new FB page.

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I added bone feathers to this carved pendent. The bone used in these projects is a recycled beef soup bone.

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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?

New Kiridashi Picture

Bubba-san (James Bieler) sent me this picture of the Tamahagane Kiridashi. He still wants to polish out some marks made by the polishing stones & place my initials in small Kanji beneath dragon. James made the lanyard from Japanese ito cord, even the red string is from Japan. He is very traditional!  Then the Kiridashi needs a traditional Japanese presentation box, the kind that is signed and usually made from empress wood. They are dovetailed with very small cuts and lined with bright silk.

Dragon Horimono on a Japanese Kiridashi
Knifemaker – James Bieler (Bubba-san Forge)
Engraver – Catherine DeFelice (Knifecarver)

Knives like this are sometimes given as wedding gifts to the bride, or any family event they want to commemorate. Knives were given to Japanese ladies for self defense, and for taking ones life. Usually a kaiken or Tanto was used for this purpose. Receiving one with a Dragon horimono was for good luck . A birth would be a typical event, but there are many. It would be similar to getting a pair of bronzed baby shoes at baby shower, or something along those lines.

So this isn’t the final picture. Check Back to see my Kanji and the presentation box.

I Love My BLOG!

It just blows my mind when I check on the stats for my blog – 385 views over all- not much to brag about, but when I see all the different countries the views came from…WOW!  I can literally say that I’m known all over the World.

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WOMEN KNIFEMAKERS

I’m posting this to bring some awareness to the knifemaking community &  to maybe inspire other women to make knives. I’m shocked at how little information there is & I’m amazed at the artistry and craftsmanship of the Women Knifemakers I found from around the World. This list took some time to put together, sadly I could only find 28 Knifemakers and I don’t have websites for everyone. What I did notice is that quite a few have Husbands that are Knifemakers.
If you can add to it, please do.
1. Knifedog – Darci from IronArmKnives
2. Harumi Hirayama http://www.ne.jp/asahi/harumi/knives
3. Kathleen Tomey http://www.tomeycustomknives.com
4. Linda Ferguson http://www.fergusonknives.com
5. Silvana Mouzinho http://www.silvanaartknives.com
6. Dianna Casteel http://www.casteelcustomknives.com
7. Grace Horne http://www.gracehorne.co.uk
8. Stéphanie Mottais http://stephanie-mottais.com
9. Lynn Dawson http://www.dawsonknives.com
10. Dellana http://www.dellanadesigns.com
11. Haley DesRosiers http://www.alaskablades.com
12. Audra Draper http://draperknives.info
13. Chantal Gilbert http://www.chantalgilbert.com
14. Sharla Hansen http://shansenknives.com
15. Heather Harvey http://www.heavinforge.co.za
16. Elizabeth Loerchner http://ecloerchner.com
17. Gail Lunn http://www.lunnknives.com
18. Julie Warenski-Erickson http://www.curtericksonknives.com
19. Paula Eisler
20. Barbara Baskett
21. Carolyn Tinker
22. Paula Anzel
23. Lora Sue Bethke
24. Judy Gottage
25. Marina farao
26. Junko Fong
27. Daisy Zeng
28. Dee Hedges

These are the final pictures of the engraving I did on Bubba-San’s Kiridashi. This project took longer than I expected and was frustrating me. My tools literally weren’t “cutting it” but the problem was my machine. I wore the brushes more than 1/2 way down and had to replace them. Now the machine was running fine but the steel had taken it’s toll on 2 of my favorite tools. But it’s Done.

When I unwrapped it, I was a little upset that there was rust on the blade. This is a high carbon steel and one of the draw backs is that it will rust if you don’t keep a thin layer of oil on the tool. On the other hand, this steel will give you the sharpest edge you can get. James will polish out the metal when he gets this, then he will etch the metal to bring out the wave pattern in the steel. When it’s done, it will almost look like damascus. I will post a picture of the final, final picture.

Almost Finished

Engraved Kiridashi

Detail of Dragon

ARE YOU ATTRACTED TO SHARP AND POINTY OBJECTS? DO YOU MAKE KNIVES, CARRY KNIVES, COLLECT KNIVES, DO ANY KIND OF WORK ON KNIVES? DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE THAT DOES? PLEASE COMMENT/CONTACT ME!

I WANT TO DO A BLOG ABOUT WOMEN & KNIVES. THERE ARE MORE WOMEN THAN YOU WOULD BELIEVE THAT ARE INVOLVED WITH KNIVES, AND MY GOAL IS TO FEATURE THEM IN MY BLOG IN AN INTERVIEW ASKING QUESTIONS LIKE… HOW THEY GOT STARTED, WHO/WHAT INSPIRES THEM, WHAT IS THEIR EDC, ETC.

I hope to finish the kiridashi within the next 2 weeks.  I’m working on the head, the beard, horns and starting to add scales. I’ll try to save the eyes for last. A couple of things I want to point out…This is dragon is being cut out along an outline and the inside is being relieved to give the illusion of dimension. Most carvings of this kind have some of the background removed to make the carving/engraving stand out. I know that this Tamahagane steel is special, so I’m only removing what I have to. The kiridashi is a tool, so I don’t want to make it weak. I also want to point out that sometimes you have to step away from your work to really appreciate it. I like posting pictures on the computer, because I get to see it in “a different light”. I can see things that I miss when I’m working because when I’m working everything is magnified. I hope you all bear with me and stick around to see how it turns out.

Full View

Still working

I DON’T MAKE KNIVES, I MAKE THEM BETTER! I’M ALWAYS LOOKING FOR KNIVES TO WORK ON AND KNIFEMAKERS TO WORK WITH. IF YOU’D LIKE YOUR KNIFE EMBELLISHED, I’M AVAILABLE. CHECK OUT MY OTHER PAGES TO SEE MY WORK. LET’S TALK.

Chuck Stapel’s Knives

Legendary Knifemaker, Chuck Stapel, sent these two knives to me to work on. These are custom made Ferrier File Survival Mountain Man Knives. Originally, these knives were hand crafted or “camp made” by mountain men from the thick files used by farriers. They could be used for hundreds of tasks and the exposed file was actually a godsend in countless emergencies.

Now they’re in my hands & I’ll be carving them, as soon as I know what I want to do on them. I’ll post pictures when they’re done.

Chuck Stapel believes in giving back (paying it forward) to others like me.  He donates his knives to many charitable organizations. Like most of the knifemakers that I’ve had the pleasure talking to, Chuck Stapel is a real down to earth, easy to talk to kinda guy. For instance, I made the mistake of calling him, Mr. Stapel. last time I talked to him and he corrected me. Thank you Chuck for all your help!

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