Titanium Obsessions

I’m sitting in my usual cafe right now…

And, yes, I’m actually working. Online stuff of course (like answering emails, writing this blog post, etc). I mean… it would be a bit weird if I was sitting here in the cafe grinding away at sheets of titanium. The dust would end up in everyone’s coffee. I’d get kicked out.

I do have titanium with me though – and here’s my current key-chain right now:


The split-ring in the middle is a recent addition. I never made it. It was Sunny – he’s another guy who, like me, likes to have his Grade 5 Titanium screaming and begging for mercy on a daily basis!

In other news:

Remember the post I did a few days ago about making a knife (click here to check it out if you missed it).

Well, I asked for some comments from you with regards to steel to use, etc.

And by god did you deliver!

The number of comments I received and the quality of the information was incredible. I printed the whole lot out – 25 pages of them.

I realised a few things from those comments:


You are awesome (but you already knew that)


You are bend-over-backwards helpful (but I already knew that)

And thirdly…

I know absolutely NOTHING about knives.


Here’s the problem…

I initially thought I would just “make a knife”. A bit of steel here… a bit of grinding there… a little assembly… and voila, a knife.

But, um, it seems that this is now an impossibility for me.

If you already know a little about me, then you’ll already understand why I can’t just cobble-together a knife.

But, for those people out there who are not aware of my obsessive-compulsive tendencies and the genetically flawed nature of my personality – here’s some highlights (these are just some of my flaws from “Magnus’ Big Book Of Flaws”):

Flaw #327 –> When buying products… I find myself only be able to buy seemingly over-the-top and over-engineered. Getting the “next-best” version is never an option.

Flaw #328 –> When designing and making my  own products… I either produce the exact concept I want …or I don’t make it at all. I won’t make any compromises on method, quality, material, and so on.

Flaw #130 –> There is a BIG box of “rejects” in my workshop. Most of it is just minor blemishes and scratches I am unable fix. People continue to ask me to sell them the rejects – but I just can’t allow sub-perfect products to go out in the world.

Actually, here’s some of the rejects I’m talking about:


Flaw #842 –> I do everything I can to not buy shoes that have laces (damn I hate tying laces …it seems so unnecessary in this modern world)

Flaw #76 –> I can’t sell titanium products that have “machining lines” on them. Other makers seem to be fine with this – but I just can’t get my head around it. There is something “unfinished” about it.

Here’s an example of my Scalper Titanium Bottle Opener with and without surface finishing to take the lines out and make it smoother to touch:


So, yeah, I’m probably more flawed than most.

On the plus side… it does mean that when I design, make and sell a product …then it’s pretty much the best.


Back to the “The Knife”…

Now that the die-hard, raving-fans have had an absolute field-day in the comments …I now well and truly have to completely re-think this knife concept.

Like I said…

I initially was going to just make a knife. Simple.

But now it’s not simple.

Because of the comments (and emails) I’ve received I am now forced to carefully consider:

Blade design

Blade material

Blade edge

Folding mechanism

Left/Right handed

Locking mechanism

Etc, etc, etc.

I am now genetically pre-disposed to use the best steel for the job (which means researching it fully) …I have to get the blade design right (for this knife’s specific purpose) …and, well, pretty much everything.

Now that I’m aware that there are better options than I initially thought – I have to actually follow these better options so that I know I’m choosing the BEST option.

Man, I was so ignorant to knives three days ago. I’m still ignorant now… but I now KNOW I’m ignorant. 😛

More on the knife soon!

  • David Shenawy says:

    All excellent flaws to have.

    Stick with a metal that is easy to sharpen and retains a decent edge. I love CTS-xhp steel. M390 is also fantastic.

    A slip joint knife, or even something similar to a folding kiridashi (see Fred Perrin).

  • Jean-Maxime Marleau says:

    Oh good lord ! I want that split ring ! It was the only disappointment I had when I received my mokuti hangkey. If I had received this one instead I think I would have bought two. Please let us know if you ever intend to sell this (or give one to me 😀 )

  • inacio says:

    Im glad you have come to your senses. I believe it should take you a year or more to be able to produce a successful knife product. Less than a year and you will have less chance of success. I would also add that you should have a product that is different but totally desired by anybody. Please laser print some designs from New Zealand Maori on the handle.

  • Kenwood says:

    Dear Sir,
    Just wanted to throw in my opinion to muddy up the process even more. In case someone hasn’t already suggested it, I’d like it to be a spring assist knife with a flipper nub. You can add a thumb stud on the blade if you like, but the flipper nub is essential. Also, see if you can incorporate nail file etchings on the side(s) of the handle. They would be functional for filing and striking a match on as well as provide a grip surface to the handle. I’d also like to see a bottle opener cut-out at the end of the handle and maybe have a screwdriver nub at the tip, preferably phillips head.

    Thank you sir, and enjoy your coffee.

    • Thanks Kenwood.

      I tell you what… it’s frustrating living here in New Zealand to some degree. It means that a spring/gravity knife is out of the question.

      A thumb stud is doable for sure though.

  • William says:

    You could always start with a pocketable fixed blade & sheath.

  • Richard says:

    A knife is a rather ambitious project, but it would be interesting to see how your design aesthetic would be applied to it. I think it might be a long process to reach perfection though. By the way, nice split ring, I’m a fan of Sunny’s work too!

  • Will says:

    i am using your hangkey on sunny’s split ring at this very moment… and ive decided to get one of your carabiners to attach to my OTHER split ring from sunny which holds all of my edc. (like you, im pretty ocd about my things… i refuse to carry anything else at all with my car keys; they must occupy a ring by themselves. so, the OTHER ring holds my stuff separately.) im pretty sure sunny perfected the split ring; there is none higher.

  • Brad says:

    If I may, I might suggest getting a blade custom made by a professional maker, to your exact specs and needs… And then once the actual thing is made to a “general” finish level, you do the rest of the customization to your standards. I suggest this because it would save you countless hours trying to perfect a craft that is, in its own essence, imperfect to a degree. I am not sure if this all makes sense, but I thought I would share as it is what I do. I don’t make folders, and don’t think I ever could make a knife to your standards, but I certainly strive to make to my own.
    I wish you all the best with this endeavor!

    • Thank you for the comment Brad – much appreciated. It is something I would still consider at this stage.

      If someone can make a blade better than I can …then I have no problem handing that part over to them.

  • RB says:

    I couldn’t resist coming back to you on your flaws. All pretty good ones if a bit obsessive;-)

    But you do compromise.
    1) You clearly love working with titanium but you use a titanium alloy (grade 5) rather than pure titanium. Of course it’s stronger and tougher than many of the other purer unalloyed grades. Is that a compromise or is 18ct gold better or worse than 24ct for much the same reasons???
    2) You choose to use titanium but there you have already decided to compromise on cost. Fair enough. Your customers like it too. But you could probably produce equally functionally good items in some cases from (for example) aluminium alloys. (Carabiners, pill pots). As an example I’ve a number of forged aluminium carabiners that are tiny, proof tested to 4kN (not for PPE) and featherlight. Absolutely no compromise on manufacturing quality either with perfectly finished spark erroded dies, hot forging, heat treatment, hard anodising and laser etched serial numbers… Just different.
    3) And you have clearly decided that titanium isn’t for you for knives even though knives are made from it. But of course titanium knives are a compromise of corrosion resistance and non-magnetic over ultimate sharpness and cost;-)
    4) You are now in the unfortunate position of needing to choose a steel to use and every steel out there is itself a compromise choice there is no perfect steel. Have fun on that one!!! Man has been alloying iron for some millennia ever since he decided he wasn’t satisfied with edge holding ability of his first iron axe (“yeah it’s better than the bronze one but can’t you make it hold an edge a bit longer and its a pain when it gets rusty”). The pace and choice has just got more frantic in the past 50+ years as we understood the microscopic material composition better.

    But seriously, good luck with that endeavour and you do produce some of the finest titanium EDC jewelry out there.

    • Man, this comment has really got me (re)thinking a few things..

      Maybe I could do a titanium blade. Although I still don’t know enough yet to figure out what the plus and minus points would be.

      Yeah, steel. Damn it’s a big subject!

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