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  Larry Nowicki | Custom Knives - Hand Forged About Me
About Me
Larry Nowicki Hi I'm Larry Nowicki. I started my study of knives in 1975. After years of martial arts study with an emphasis on self defense the use of knifes for defense has always fascinated me. I made a few early blades with this purpose in mind. They were geared towards stabbing and slicing. A tool to enhance my fighting skills. As I refined my fighting skills the knives became more refined, smaller and more concealable.

In 1976 I joined with my sparing partner in a farming business. Using knives entered the picture. Knives had to feel good and perform well in the field. In 1993 I joined the Chesapeake Bay Knife Club. Collectors and makers, a group of guys and gals with many similar interests in knives.

I met Ted Merchant and showed him some of my knives. Crude and rude as they were he didn't shut me down or make fun of them.

He said if I was really interested in making knives they would help. I was invited to attend their show and see what was really available. I went to their show and looked and handled a lot of knives. One really caught my attention. It felt good and looked great with its gem incrusted focalized mastodon ivory handle and gold inlay damascus blade. When the maker told me the several thousand-dollar price tag I handed it back to him and told him how impressed I was with the feel and beauty of his work. I knew then I could never afford to buy one like it so if I really wanted one I was going to have to learn to make one.

I was approached By Ted to join the Appalachian Knifemakers Guild (AKG).
I went to one of their rendezvous. Gary Anderson showed how to forge. Through the Chesapeake Bay knife Club I met many makers that taught different skills. Kent Nicholson showed silver wire inlay. He is an engineer specializing in metallurgy. We spent many hours talking about different steels, their properties and how to heat-treat them to get different results. Shop tours with people like Bill Moran, Jack Fuller and Rob Hudson helped along the way.

Kenny Stagerwald showed file work and grinding techniques. Steve Corkum came to the club and showed his combat cord wrap for Japanese style handles. I also spent time at his place refining that rap and going over clay heat treat tequnecs.

At one of the CBKC meetings a maker, Raoul Garcia, left word he would be retiring from knife making for health reasons and would like to part with his power hammer and some other equipment. I spent a long weekend with him and bought his stuff. This was another step on my path of knife making. Great guy, wish we had met earlier but have lost contact. Herd he is doing better.

Ted has had the most influence on my development because I agree with his philosophy of what a knife should be. First and foremost it must be a usable tool. Strong and durable, capable of doing whatever it is designed to do. Like most good Chefs when they prepare a meal they start with a desired outcome. They decide on a recipe, gather their
ingredients and prepare them in a certain way to get the desired flavors and textures of the food. Finally they put it all together so as to be appealing to all the senses, sight, smell, and touch. Sometimes even the sound of the preparation enhances the food. As with a knife, you must first decide on the purpose, fit a recipe and stick to it. No compromise. Know the steel. Forge to shape. If you do stock removal profile the blade. Natural lines enhance the beauty and strength. The closer you forge the less grinding will have to be done. Then heat treat, normalize, harden, draw, finish grind and buff.

On to the handle. This should fit the hand comfortably and hold up to whatever stresses encountered. Natural wood, bone or antler, work well when fitted correctly. Cord wraps have their place. Embellishments like mosaic pins, silver wire, file work, scrimshaw and other things enhance the looks of the blade and when it‚s all presented together it can be a thing of beauty.

To carry this blade a sheath of leather or wood works well. Recently I've been working with Glen Shmit on kydex.

After 911 and the fall of the World Trade Center Ted made a call to the knife makers to make and donate knives to our armed forces to use against terrorists. I went to his place and a group of us worked on several knives that found their way to the army rangers. Other makers chipped in too. This is what gave me the kick in the butt I needed to get serious about knife making. When someone‚s life depended on one of my blades then it better perform.

All in all it‚s been an enjoyable road to travel. I invite anyone to come and enjoy one of my blades.

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