Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Knife-Making Instruction from Robert Alderman of Tracker's Forge

For some time, I have offered lessons in how to make knives to local residents.

And, while most folks have used my lessons as simply a way to satisfy a curiousity or to make a knife for special occasion, a few of my students have attended to make knives for sale, to become knife-makers.

I teach both forging and stock removal techniques of knife-making.

In addition, I am familiar with multiple styles of knife construction, and can instruct you in the techniques necessary, styles of construction include but are not limited to; full tang, insert tang, and mortise tang.

Also, I instruct in the construction and design of folders.

I instruct in annealing, hardening, and tempering common high carbon steels like 5160, 1084, and 1095.

I am familiar with various methods of patina and darkening, and instruct in types and methods of finishing.

Also, so that you can begin to make knives on your own. I can instruct you in what equipment is necessary vs what equipment is optional. As well, I have a design for a forge that is very fuel efficient and can be easily constructed.

Lastly, I instruct in sources of appropriate materials that can be acquired for little or no money.

I am the 4th generation of blacksmiths in my family, and I learned my knife-making skills from Steve Mullins, a well known knife-maker.

I am most well known for my reproductions and knives based on the technology and art of the moutain man period, pre 1840. I have an extensive knowledge of the patterns and constructions methods of the period. Further, I can make a knife look as though it had been made many years ago.

I can translate my 40 years of experience to answer all your questions concerning knife-making and related matters.

I charge $125 per day, and with planning, a simple knife and sheath can be built within 2 days. But, based on the knife or knives that you would like to make, or the skills you would like to acquire, I can schedule longer appointments to suit.

As an example of the type of thing that can be made, check out the knife made by Marion David Poff of Eye On Cutlery

If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you,

1 comment:

  1. Hi there. I noticed you mentioned learning your knife making skills from Steve Mullins.

    Years ago, when I was in college in Tulsa, OK, Charles Brown (aka Charlie Brown who used to write for Knife World)and I would go fishing.

    When I graduated, he gave me a hand made small game knife from Pack River Knife Company. In trying to reconnect with Charlie, I have been researching and while I can't find a live site for Pack River - or Charlie - or Steve Mullins, it seems that Steve may have been the maker of the knife I have owned and cherished for over 20 years.

    If anyone could provide me with information about Charlie or Pack River I would appreciate it.

    And in advance, I am not interested in selling or parting with the knife in any way!

    My email is

    Thanks in advance.