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In His Own Words: Knifemaker Thomas Haslinger

September 15, 2011

Text By Thomas Haslinger

Mike Norris stainless ladder Damascus is used on this knife called the Ruby Folder, so named thanks to a 2.27-carat ruby on the gold thumb stud.

Here are some of the knives I’ve been working on: The first has a solid-gold guard and pommel that make the gold-fluted dagger a hefty piece. A total of 10.2 ounces of gold has been used. The blade was forged of 1084 and 15N20 in a modified ladder pattern with a 15N20 banding layer. The fully fluted, solid-Damascus handle has been sculpted and inlaid with mother-of-pearl, not only on the flat face, but also on the side. As the sides have a round contour, inlaying was a challenge. All inlay work was done by hand. The pommel has a full-color spectrum AAA-grade ammonite inset into it. Engraving is by D. Reeves. The overall length is 12 1/2 inches overall with a 6 1/2-inch blade. 

On the other end of the size scale, My Black Lip Dress knife is small and slick. With a slim profile it still stays secure in your hand for an elegant everyday companion. The Damascus was forged out of 15N20 and 1084 in a random pattern. Solid 10ct gold pins secure the pearl to the full tang. A braided fob adds a finishing touch and additional grip for an easier retrieve out of a sheath. The sheath itself is lined with Ultrasuede and overlaid with rattlesnake skin. The overall length is 6 3/4 inches with a 2 7/8-inch blade. The knife is .11-inch thick.

Golden is the name for this art dagger engraved by D. Reeves. (Point Seven Studios photo)

For a fancy hunter, The Wasootch Creek San Mai hunter has an 01 center core of San Mai Damascus that is 5/32-inch-thick, making this knife a performance cutter. The mammoth ivory handles have been fastened with sculpted pins that are fileworked and gun blued. The bolsters are dovetailed as are all the joints between the ivory and metal have been ever so slightly rounded. This is to prevent any possible sharp edges during movement of the ivory. The Damascus bolsters are fitted with hidden pin construction to have no visible distraction from the Damascus. The knife has been fileworked all around for some additional class. Overall length is 8 1/4 inches.

My Desert Ironwood Utility is a utilitarian knife is designed for all round use. The blade is ground with a power stroke satin finish and a fully tapered tang, making it a well-balanced knife. The Edge recurves toward the rear of the blade with a CPM S30V blade. It is an exceptional cutter. Ironwood burl scales are used for the handle, with mosaic pins and a stainless lined thong hole. The sheath is old-fashioned cowhide overlaid with carp leather.

The Ironwood Utility features a tapered tang for balance and a blade grind that makes this knife an exceptional cutter, according to the author.

The Ruby Ivory folder is a gentleman’s or woman’s folder with mammoth scales. The ivory has underlying blue with green and brown hues (taking it’s color from the surrounding soil in which it was buried for centuries). The blade spine and liners have been fileworked inside and out, and the titanium bolster has been anodized. Mike Norris supplied the Damascus for the blade with a clean detailed etch complementing the overall knife. The solid-gold thumb stud is inlaid with a faceted ruby of 2.27 carats.

Haslinger Custom Knives can be reached via email at:;; s403.253.9628

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