Fiddleback University - Knife Making Classes

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I have a knife custom made to my specs?

No. Fiddleback Forge does not make made-to-order knives to customer specifications. Fiddleback Forge designs, crafts and releases handmade knives regularly. Production is based on a variety of different factors including: designs, materials-on-hand, and sometimes creative mood. However, you may find find a new love on our list of currently available knives.

Will you make my knife design for me?

No. Probably not.

You made a knife I liked a while back, will you make me one like that?

No. Probably not. Production is based on a variety of different factors including designs, materials-on-hand, and sometimes creative mood. Besides our customers like having knives that are unique to them.

I really want one, are you sure you won't make one special, just for me?

Seriously. We don't do custom orders. Our business isn't set up for it.

Is my knife actually hand-made?

Knives listed as "Handmade Knives" are indeed hand made at Fiddleback Forge in Norcross, GA where the shaping, heat treating, grinds, sharpening, scales (handles), shaping, and finishing are done.

Machetes, have steel fabricated by renowned craftsmen in El Salvador, but are also assembled and finished by hand at Fiddleback Forge in Norcross, Georgia with sheaths designed and produced by JRE Industries.

What materials are the knives made from?

Handmade knife blades are mostly made from A2, 80CRV2, or O1 carbon steels, but occasionally other steels like CPM 154, S35VN or AEB-L are also used. As far as the handle scales are concerned, there so many different materials it would impossible to list them all here. We try to include as much as we can in the description of each knife listed.

Blades for the Mid-Tech Field Knives are made from Crucible CPM 3V and S35VN stainless steel. All of the Mid-Tech Field Knife handles are made from natural canvas or black micarta.

If you have a question about a specific product, contact us directly.

Do you have folding knives?

No. Fiddleback Forge does not make folding knives, only fixed blade knives. For now.

Are the knives made in the USA?

Yes. Handmade Knives are 100% produced at Fiddleback Forge in Norcross, GA where the shaping, heat treating, grinds, sharpening, scales (handles), shaping, finishing and packaging are done.

Machetes, have steel fabricated by renowned craftsmen in El Salvador...but are also assembled and finished by hand at Fiddleback Forge in Norcross, GA.

Do your knives come with a sheath?

Fiddleback Forge handmade knives do not come with sheaths. Typically, our customers are as discerning about their leather as they are their knives and trying to create "the" sheath for them is likely to miss the mark. Add to that that we are knife makers by trade, not leather craftsman. That being said, we leave it to the expert leather benders and let the customer seek out the vendor and style they would prefer to have for their knives. You can find more information on our sheath page.

Why does my leather sheath discolor my knife's wood/micarta handle?

It’s not the color that is changing, it’s the moisture. The fade effect you see isn’t a loss of dye, or stabilization. It’s more a question of moisture being stripped out by the sheath. Naturally, leather pulls moisture from anything it is in contact with. You see this effect alot with new sheaths, and newer knives. There is also a layer of wax on handles when they leave here that the sheaths interact with as well. So it pulls the moisture from the handles where it’s in contact.

Over time, as the sheath breaks in from absorbing your hand’s oil from the knife scales, so it absorbs less from the knife…so the issue is self correcting to a large extent. You may also notice the wood (or micarta) changing color over time as well as it absorbs oils from you (and other things). If there is any fade, a quick cleaning and Howard’s Cutting Board Conditioner (or Feed n Wax) will restore an even finish. Keep in mind also, on woods like Osage, the difference over time can be very dramatic as they age…it’s part of the natural charm of each material.

Overall, the color shift in handles, leather sheaths taking on patina, and knife steel taking on patina are all part of the evolution of owning handmade items made with natural materials.

Will my knife blade oxidize or patina?

If your knife is 80CRV2, A2, O1, 8670, or another high carbon steel, you can expect your blade to discolor over time. As it gets used, it will develop a natural patina. Patina, which is a form of protective oxidation, is natural and should not only be expected, but embraced. It tells a story of where your knife has been and all the things it has done for you. The patina will also protect it from rusting...which is a destructive form of oxidation. A knife of high carbon steel should be kept dry and oiled to minimize the chances for rust as it develops its protective patina. Also, storing a knife inside a leather sheath is not advised since moisture can be trapped against the blade.

If you have a knife made out of a stainless steel such as 3V, S35VN, AEB-L, CPM154, RWL34, Nitro-V, or other, you will not likely see any patina from normal use. Keep in mind, even stainless variants can and will rust if the knife is not cared for properly. Always dry your knives after use and oiling them lightly is always a good idea.

What should I use on my knife handle and blade to keep them looking great?

Oiling your blade is a great way to keep it in great looking condition. If you are looking to keep it food safe, mineral oil is fine to use. If you're not looking to prep food with it, good old WD-40 does the trick.

For handles, we use Howard's Feed n Wax in the shop to bring out handle highlights. We use it on both wood and synthetic handles. We also use Howard's Cutting Board Conditioner before they ship. Both are fine to use, as are other products that are similar. Mineral oil and beeswax are a great combo as they are both food-safe and work well on a variety of materials.

I saw a dyed wood handle that has some light colored streaks in it, is that normal?

You see this effect more on woods like Maple and Ash, but it’s present in nearly all woods. It is natural grain in the wood itself. Wood naturally has different densities and fiber constructs. These variances make dye absorb differently in those fibers…and give the wood it’s beautiful patterns we love so much.

What you see is a particular grain structure that is more dye resistant naturally. The dye is 100% permeated throughout. Keep in mind that the wood is stabilized when it is dyed also… so it is everlasting.

Do you stabilize all your wood? And what exactly does that mean?

The process of stabilizing wood is to chemically inject a hardening solution into the wood under pressure. It's purpose is to keep the wood from degrading over time and to harden the material so that it is more durable and hard.

We use both wood that is stabilized and non-stabilized. Not all wood requires stabilization to be suitable for use in a knife handle. Desert Ironwood, Osage, Rosewood, and many other "harder" woods do not require any additional strength and are usually so dense that the stabilizing fluid doesn't typically permeate the wood that well anyways. However, many other woods would not be suitable to use as knife handles without stabilization because they are too soft in their natural state. Stabilization allows a wider variety of wood species to be used and appreciated on knives.

As a rule of thumb, most woods that come in dyed varieties are also stabilized...since the process of permeating the dye in under pressure works well in combination with the stabilization process.

Do you have a spa service to clean up my knife?

The spa service begins at $50. This covers the re-sanding, re-marking and re-edging of the knife. Other services (like grinds, etc.) will add additional costs and risk.

If you’d like to send in your knife, mail it to:

Fiddleback Forge
ATTN: Andy Roy
5405 Buford Hwy Ste 480
Norcross, GA 30071

We would recommend sending them in a way that is both trackable and insured…and share that information with us so we are looking out for it as well. Include all of your instructions and contact information with the package.