At Mattox Knives, we provide access to skills through our products and education.
What We Do
We have a passion for for creating and for teaching our skills to others. We handcraft knives, hand tools and related goods as well as offer classes to teach the skills used in creating these products.
We were birthed from the intersection of the many roads I have gone down in my life. I grew up in a small, southern town where resourcefulness and work ethic were not optional. Attending the University of Alabama introduced me to the world and to business. After college, I spent years traveling, taking time to process and prioritize my life. During my visits home, I caught the knifemaking bug. Utilizing my father's workshop and knowledge, I started making knives from files with files and with a forge made from an upside-down pushmower, brake drum and a leafblower. Word of mouth led to inquiries for some custom knives, which led to my first craft market (where I almost sold out!), followed by more markets and custom orders, which led me to leave my job running a sawmill, go all in and start working on knives full-time.
I am so very appreciative of my mentors, loyal customers and family, to whom I owe it all.
There are two basic methods of making a knife: forging and stock removal. Forging is heating the steel to its plastic state then shaping it with a hammer while stock removal uses an abrasive to grind the steel into shape. Listed below are the basic steps I take to craft a knife:
- Shape the steel
- Heat treatment - the most complex step that includes thermal cycling, normalization and quenching. Material is very hard and brittle at this step
- Temper - Relaxes the steel to make it tougher
- Sanding - Removes scale, evens the surface and defines the bevel
- Handle work - another involved step with many different methods
- Sharpen - I use a belt grinder and a buffing wheel for this step
The choice of material is as important as any other step in the process. There are two material categories: blade steel and handle material.
This includes natural and synthetic material. Natural material includes wood, bone, leather, etc. Synthetic material includes laminated fabric, fiberglass, acrylic, etc. The choice of material depends on intended use and personal taste.
Similar to handle material the choice of blade steel can seem endless. Varying levels of carbon, manganese, nickel and many other elements provides options for any preference. There are two basic types: high carbon and stainless. For high carbon I mostly use 1095. 1095 is a plain carbon steel that holds a great edge and is easy to sharpen. My stainless of choice is AEB-l. Developed by Bohler-Uddeholm, this steel performs similarly to high carbon, attaining a fine edge while highly corrosion resistant.