A few months ago the wife and I went on a putt to the ocean, and stumbled across an Arts & Crafts fair. We window shopped visiting with craftsmen, seeing what they create with their hands. In one booth a one off hand made knife caught my eye. It was just beautiful and it fit my hand perfectly. After talking to the maker Michael Igo while admiring his work for a bit, I got his card. Maybe I would get one of his knives for myself at someday.
Unknown to me my wife contacted Mike after we got home and asked Mike to hold it for her. Than each time she was to send payment life happened. The car died, the water pump to the well went out, a payment to us was delayed. According to my wife Mike was understanding, courteous and patient. A real gentleman to deal with. He even held the knife for her at a show he did in Vegas.
Last month the knife arrived here a belated birthday gift. It is more beautiful than I remembered. Simple elegant lines gracefully flow from the blade tip to the butt of the handle. The blade is hand forged Damascus with 416 layers of high carbon tool steel, 52100, 5160, 15N20. Full tang construction.
Over all length of 7.5 inches.
Blade is 3 7/16 inches long,
1 inch wide at its widest point
3/16 inches thick at the spine.
The cutting edge appears to be ground at 23 degrees.
You really have to hold it to appreciate it. Center balance point is where the bolster meets the handle which gives it a neutral balance in my hand. The Mammoth Ivory scales feel warm to the touch. The handle fits perfectly in my hand providing a solid comfortable grip in a forward, reverse or over hand grip. It feels like and extension of my hand. Like it wants to cut something.
The sheath is a unique cross draw design that lays flat against my body appendix carried and slightly off body in the 9 O'Clock position. Set at a perfect angle for a comfortable natural draw, at least for me. The knife sits deep in the sheath so that a two finger grip is required to pull it free before getting a full grip on the handle. Not ideal IMO for a primary defensive blade. Not at big deal, as I have no intention on using this as my primary defensive knife.
I re profiled the edge to 21 degrees on my Edge Pro. Finishing with 7000 grit mylar tape to give it a polished edge before a quick swipe on a clean Russian Leather strop and wipe down with some olive oil. That was a month ago I have carried and used it daily. I have not batoned fire wood, hacked through cinder blocks or fire doors nor opened up #10 cans with it. I have sharpened pencils (a wood writing instrument with a lead core once commonally used to write words on paper), feathered fire sticks, opened boxes, sliced all kinds of paper testing sharpness. We did have an accident and my S10 Chevy bumper was dragging, so I cut it off. The knife sliced through the bumper like the proverbial hot knife through butter and has held its edge to slice steak, open up Dungeness and King crab shell, slice tomatoes, open boxes, cut rope, string, web straps whatever day to day cutting tasks have come along. Edge retention has been excellent. It has stayed as shaving sharp as the day I first sharpened it. As my bald left leg can attest. No doubt this will be an excellent skinner and more than capable of dealing with any task put to it.
Do I really need a knife like this? Probably not. That really is not the question. Other less expensive knives will do all those mundane tasks almost as well, but none of them will bring the smile and pride of ownership that this one does every time I unsheathe it. This is a gentle mans knife. A thing of beauty that is sure to become a family heirloom, but not a safe queen. I feels to good in my hand more than capable of dealing with whatever I will need it for. It will work every day of its life. At a price that is less than what I have paid for some production knives.
If you too want a top quality custom hand made knife from hand forged Damascus steel, with an included custom sheath.
Michael Igo at Igo Knives
Phone: number is 509•251•0552
or mail: IgoKnives@Hotmail.com
You can do a lot worst than this. Truth is I do not think you can get a better deal anywhere else. Michael is a great guy to deal with. He also makes some excellent kitchen cutlery I am sure he can put together whatever you need.