Barry's blades are characterised by a grace and simplicity that belies the many hours spent in their construction. His lines are restrained, clean and subtle. Even his "Art Originals" have a formal and restrained tone not withstanding their beautiful materials and meticulous attention to detail.
With these blades the basic integrity of the tool is never compromised for the sake of cosmetics. Barry's designs deliver shockingly effective performance and his working method ensures that such performance is delivered consistantly over time.
Barry has the easy manner of a countryman. I met him some years ago while searching for a modern, high quality sword. I found the sword I was looking for on Barry's sword rack. He does all his own work and is a full time professional maker with 20 odd years experience. He's doing some of his best and most prolific work to date right now. He works mostly in 440C but has also worked in the other high alloy steels and in Damascus. His turnaround time averages about 8 months but can be considerably less in many cases depending on the size and complexity of the piece.
Damascus blades have long enjoyed a reputation for toughness and cutting ability. While a full treatise on the subject can be found on our bookshelf, its beauty and funtionality can only be truely appreciated in the hand. Until relatively recently produced by only a handfull of makers, in miniscule quantities, its availability has been patchy at best. Furthermore if regular damascus was rare, stainless damascus was almost impossible to find.
Enter the good Doctor who single handedly has made an enormous contribution to the availability of both materials. Dr Charlton or "Rob" has been pounding now for 15 years, and contrives to not only produce the stuff in hitherto unheard of quantities but manages to do so in a more cost effective manner than almost any one else. Damascus is inherently difficult to make so his achievement is not inconsiderable. Rob has a turnaround time of about 3 months right now.
If you are looking for the kind of knife your grandaddy might have carried, then look no further. Bub, to his friends and if you buy one of his knives you can definitely consider yourself a friend, makes the knife for you. Bub's blades cut, look and feel just like grandpa's and just like grandpa's they are made entirely in the finest high carbon steel so require a little more care and attention than their modern stainless equivalent. These blades can be readily pattinated with a little lemon juice, for a period look and in time will acquire the character of the time worn article anyway.
Bub works almost entirely in O1 as it is the material he feels most comfortable with, though he has worked in other materials and is not afraid to take on customer designed patterns. His turn around time varies quite a bit depending on the piece and whether its already on hand or not, but on average it runs at about 2--3 months. He has recently installed two new grinders so his output is increasing as a result. Bub's knives have "hand made work of art" written all over them especially when ordered with optional jimping. His filework is extra but really worth it as the character and charm of his knives really comes through.
Brian is a part time maker who eventually started to make knives after many years of collecting. His fit and finish is something that must be seen to be believed. The photographs do not have the resolution required to show the finish Brian is capable of. Brian lives in the neighbourhood and has outfitted his workshop generously but when the chips are down he will happily spend an afternoon drawfiling a joint with a needle file to achieve a flawless fit.
We hope to have more detailed information before long.
You are the best knifemaker money can buy or you are certainly the cheapest. Most other knifemakers can't afford to work for nothing. When the knife thing hit me I looked around and found to my chagrin that the knives I really liked were all the handmade, blood, sweat and tears type. In otherwords someone put a lot of themselves into them. Unfortunately such knives tended to be out of my price range and were for the most part inaccessible to me. However, they were a great inspiration to me and I resolved that if I could not afford somebody else's work of art then I would make my own.