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Michael Pikula
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Location: Madison, WI
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Aug, 2010 6:31 pm    Post subject: 10 by-knives, ready for shipping to your doorstep         Reply with quote

I have been concentrating a bit too much at getting projects to specification so I decided to take a short break and clean up shop and decided to do something with all the little cut offs that I had from tangs or tips. The result is a batch of simple by-knives that can be used for daily tasks or to accessorize your ren fair outfit. The blades are L6, ground to an extremely fine edge that isn't fragile by any means,but at the same time meant for finer cutting tasks. The grips on #1-4 are Walnut, #5-10 Panga and are about 4.3" long. The bolsters are Bronze, Copper, Brass, Nickel, and were formed by bending sheet stock at a 90degree angle, soft soldered in place, ground to match the profile of the shoulders and tang so that there is just about half an inch of the bolster soldered firmly to the tang when all is said and done. The tang was set in a slot in the wood, filled with 2 ton epoxy, then tapped the rest of the way to give it a firm, proper, hold in addition to the strength of the epoxy.

I am looking for comments and feedback as well since I would like to start making these on a regular basis,
What would you like to see different?
Is there a blade shape that is more appealing?
How much would you be willing to pay for a extremely simple leather sheath and would adding a sheath be a deal breaker?
Other thoughts more then welcome.

Price and bolster material and blade length:
1 - Sold, Bronze, 4.2"
2 - $85, Copper, 3.8"
3 - not for sale, Nickel, 5.2"
4 - $85, Brass, 4"
5 - Sold, Copper, 4.75"
6 - Sold payment pending, Nickel, 5.4"
7 - $85, Brass, 4.1"
8 - Sold, Bronze, 5.3"
9 - Sold, none, 3.8"
10 - Sold payment pending, none, 4"

As will all my work, all aspects of craftsmanship is guaranteed, if you have a problem or something breaks during proper use it will be either repaired, or replaced with a similar item.

*Side note, these prices reflect the kind of freehand approach that I decided to take while crafting them. A commissioned piece built to your specifications is extremely possible however at a higher price then what they are listed for at this time.

Thanks for looking!



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Last edited by Michael Pikula on Fri 13 Aug, 2010 11:03 am; edited 4 times in total
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Aug, 2010 9:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael-

These look fantastic! I would buy one if someone hadn't already bought the one I want... I'd love to see more small stuff like this ready for an impulse buy. I love the grips but how about a bit of carving on them? Just a thought, I know how good your carving abilities are! Wink
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Mon 09 Aug, 2010 10:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tim Lison wrote:
Michael-

These look fantastic! I would buy one if someone hadn't already bought the one I want... I'd love to see more small stuff like this ready for an impulse buy. I love the grips but how about a bit of carving on them? Just a thought, I know how good your carving abilities are! Wink


Sort of the same for me as the ones I liked the most have already been sold and I can see these used as hunting knives, utility or even really cool kitchen knives.

Some sort of simple matching wooden scabbard would be a good idea. ( Or deep leather pouch type covering most of the handle as well as the blade ? ).

Naturally when the " custom " requests sort of are added on I would see the base price to at least double. Wink Laughing Out Loud

But I can see these being very appealing as they are made of premium materials and cost less than many modern factory knives.

If you keep making these I sure I will certainly buy one eventually. ( Sort of have to watch my pennies until I figure out my budget for the next few months ).

They do seem to be selling like hot cakes ! So anyone wanting one left from this batch shouldn't wait too long to make up their mind to buy.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Michael B.
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Location: Chugiak, AK
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Aug, 2010 11:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

WHY??!! Here i am trying to save for one shiny thing, then another shiny thing is dangled in front of me. Wonderful knives, and seriously tempting.
I love having knife options, living in a state where I am constantly hunting or fishing, working in a job where I'm constantly cutting, and loving to cook, knives are very plentiful in my house.
A sheathe would not necessary be a deal breaker, however, I'm usually not willing to pay more than $40 for a simple leather sheathe. I usually can make it myself if it's over that.
Again, beautiful work.

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Michael Bergstrom
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Aug, 2010 12:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael,

Good work.
These are well made and well thought out knives.
Seems eminently usable and shaped with an eye for beauty.

Very good prices!
I wonder if people understand how much they get for such money?

All best
Peter
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Tue 10 Aug, 2010 3:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
Michael,

Good work.
These are well made and well thought out knives.
Seems eminently usable and shaped with an eye for beauty.

Very good prices!
I wonder if people understand how much they get for such money?

All best
Peter


Maybe they don't, but they should, as these should take a razor like edge and using forged L6 they should also be very hard and wear resistant as well as a very strong edge.

Oh, and simple and attractive designs. Big Grin

( Edited: I broke down and asked about buying # 6, if it's still available, ..... ended up convincing myself to buy something: I guess I couldn't resist my own arguments. Wink Razz Laughing Out Loud ).

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Sander Marechal




Location: The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Aug, 2010 4:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shoot, why do such things always come up when I have no money? I'd love to buy one, but I'd rather be able to pay my mortgage unfortunately...
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Michael Pikula
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Location: Madison, WI
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Aug, 2010 7:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you everyone for your thoughts on this batch.

It seems like the seax shape was the winner since those were the first three to get picked up. And if I don't say so myself #1 really turned out to be a beautiful creature. I have had several people asking about sheathes so I will snap some pictures of what I come up with and post when I get a chance.

If a particular style or knife is wanted but is already sold you can feel free to drop me a PM to let me know which one caught your eye and another similar knife might very well show up in the next batch, next month.

The whole concept of these knives is experimental for me. I have been trying to think like a period craftsman in terms of something straight forward to make that will exercise a "production" mentality but still be very handmade. At the same time I wanted to make something that is affordable to a large audience, and something that will see actual use so that I could kind of bridge the gap between period work and modern needs. These knives offered an opportunity to do just that, plus put little bits of tool steel to good use that normally just sit around under the work bench.

When pricing work like this I must admit I don't do it the most professional way... I take a look at the end product and I think to myself what I feel it is worth in terms of the finished piece and also the economic situation at the time; after all I think that is how potential buyer look at it. As I do more of these, and some full tang versions as well, I think that they will start turning out better and faster.

And adding carving to the grip is a viable option, I think it would be better to offer the knives plain, and if someone is interested in adding carving, or pin work, or any other decorative elements drop me a message and I can spice up a particular knife. I feel that decoration can be a personal taste and can double the price of these basic knives. I will see what I can come up with in the next batch though, where there is a will there is always a way!


Last edited by Michael Pikula on Tue 10 Aug, 2010 7:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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Carl W.




Location: usa
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Aug, 2010 7:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice knives, & good use of "sword remnants".

All fwiw, your business... could have ready a "standard" very simple sheath design/description & offer that as an option. I put "standard" in quotes as likely don't want customizing back & forth for these small items, but I think you should feel free to vary a bit to try different things (if You want to) much like you did on the knives.
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Dustin R. Reagan





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PostPosted: Tue 10 Aug, 2010 1:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simple & elegant, with an obviously hand-crafted feel. I also like the nice, satin finish. This sort of finish will be very easy to maintain (i use the scratchy half of a typical kitchen sponge to keep the finish on my own carbon-steel knives clean). My only "criticism" is that these handles are begging for some very simple period embellishment, such as simple chiseled lines or pin-work.

Thumbs up!
Dustin
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Aug, 2010 2:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Pikula wrote:
If a particular style or knife is wanted but is already sold you can feel free to drop me a PM to let me know which one caught your eye and another similar knife might very well show up in the next batch, next month.


There's going to be more batches? Awesome! I'm going to save up...
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Tue 10 Aug, 2010 2:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:
Michael Pikula wrote:
If a particular style or knife is wanted but is already sold you can feel free to drop me a PM to let me know which one caught your eye and another similar knife might very well show up in the next batch, next month.


There's going to be more batches? Awesome! I'm going to save up...


Yes and I'm probably going to go for a seax shape next " month " : Sort of can be the " Knife of the Month Club " Wink Laughing Out Loud Cool

Although, if Michael is very busy with big commissions he might skip a month here and there ?

Oh, just speculating here as I can't speak for Michael and it does depend on how popular these simple but high quality ( Forged ) knives become. Wink They certainly can help people buy something affordable from Michael and help him stay in business by averaging out his income flow between the bigger custom work that must alternate between feast and famine.

One can also look at these as " In stock " base option knives that one can buy as his or ask for modifications that will bring up the price in increments depending on how much one goes in the " custom " direction.

Obviously if one wants something very special might as well just contact Michael and have something much more elaborate designed and commissioned. Wink

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Wed 11 Aug, 2010 9:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well the purchase of #6 is confirmed and Michael will be making a leather scabbard for it and should be able to ship in a week or two: The price for the scabbard is quite reasonable but I should let Michael and anyone wanting a scabbard for their knife ( if they buy one Wink ) negotiate the price which might vary if one wants " extras " rather than a plain functional scabbard.

As usual Michael is a joy to do business with. Big Grin Cool

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Thu 12 Aug, 2010 11:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Seems like only 3 left for sale. Wink Big Grin Cool

If this is a success for Michael it should motivate him to make it a regular practice to make batches of these or similar small knives.

I may end up accumulating a small collection of these. Wink

Michael has in the past done another of these sales things with spear heads, he might consider doing other special runs of other things if people have good suggestions for special runs ? I can see a few possibilities like:

A) Another run like this of utility period every day knives.
B) A run of seaxs. ( small to medium length blades )
C) Spear/javelin heads.
D) Axe or hatchet heads.
E) A mix of a few of all of the above.

F) Any other suggestions ?

NOTE: I don't want to distract from Michael's original questions and ideas about the appeal of these medieval utility knives so my other suggestions are just other ideas for small runs but I think Michael was specifically thinking of taking advantage of stock cut offs from tangs and tips and putting them to use because these small knives can be made cheaply and cost effectively for him since half the work on them is already done. The other projects I suggest might be more expensive because they would have to be planned projects rather than taking advantage of useful cuttings.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Tue 17 Aug, 2010 12:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Giving this a bump as there are still 3 available according to Michael's first post which I think he edits and updates when one is sold.
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Malcolm A




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Aug, 2010 12:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all
I struggle to find the words to do justice to the knives on show.
Beautiful selection of materials and wonderful execution of work.
Simple elegant designS that just rock!!!
I could go on for ages...

I do plan on buying a sgian dubh fairly soon after reading a recent topic in myArmoury; this one in fact.
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=20499
As such I would suggest that Michael consider making some such knives at some point in time.
Not the sort you see at so many weddings [garish and artificial etc] tucked into the sock of a hired highland outfit.
Instead go for a simpler design:
- good quality steel
- good horn or wood for handle
- gimping on the back of the blade
- plain functional sheath
- optional stone / gem
In fact, somewhat like the ones that Nathan owns.

Anyway, just my tuppence worth.

By the way, did I say how GREAT the knives made by Michael are?

Cheers

It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself
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Michael Pikula
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Location: Madison, WI
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PostPosted: Tue 24 Aug, 2010 6:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

#4 is sold payment pending

#2 and #7 are the last two remaining at this time.

Thanks again for all the kind words and thoughts!
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Fri 27 Aug, 2010 1:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Pikula wrote:
#4 is sold payment pending

#2 and #7 are the last two remaining at this time.

Thanks again for all the kind words and thoughts!


And #6 ( mine ) is sold and payment no longer pending. Wink Laughing Out Loud

Oh, and a bump. Wink Razz

Note Michael should be shipping next week and maybe he can post a pic of the scabbard he made for me here as well as e-mailing it to me. ( I don't mind at all and even encourage him to post any pics here if he has time to take pics before shipping ).

I'll certainly give people my impressions of the knife as soon as I get it and do some cutting tests on some helpless vegetables. Wink Razz ( Planning to put it to good use in the kitchen as all my old kitchen knives are cheap crap that dull after cutting one carrot. Laughing Out Loud ).

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Wed 08 Sep, 2010 1:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just got #6 in the mail today and it's very nice with a thin but very very sharp blade: As Michael mentioned these are made for fine cutting and meant to be used. The blade seems to be around 3/32" thick and is flat ground to an almost zero edge, the small secondary bevel is half a millimetre wide and is easier to keep sharp without marring the finish than a true zero edge.

In any case if one sharpens a zero edge using conventional methods/angles one ends up with the same narrow secondary bevel.

The blade came very sharp but needed just a couple of passes on a spyderco sharpmaker ( grey ceramics ) to make it hair popping sharp.

The wood grip has a very attractive wood grain and the simple leather scabbard covers about a third of the handle.

Not belt loop but one could easily tie on a leather lace to form a loop to secure the knife that could easily just be thrust behind a belt.

As I've mentioned before I'm going to use this knife in the kitchen but only for fine cutting on a wooden cutting board and not to cut up my steak on my plate: A fine knife shouldn't be used directly on a ceramic plate as this would just dull the blade for real work.

If I was a hunter I think this very sharp and thin blade would be very useful skinning and cleaning game.

This knife could also be useful as a survival blade if one uses it only for cutting: It's certainly not a pry-bar.

Oh, the blade finish is a nice easy to restore satin finish similar to an Albion finish and also similar to the finish of the other work I have from Michael.

Bottom line simple functional elegance.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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