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A Handmade Collaboration Begins

October 28, 2011

The Story of How the Elishewitz/George Collaborations Came to Be

The OD Green G-10 scale features the logo of both Allen Elishewitz and Les George. The G-10 back spacer matches the scale, and a stainless steel lock bar insert ensures a solid lock up and clean release.

By Les George

In June of 2009, Allen Elishewitz and I sat having lunch with our wives at a restaurant near his house in the Texas hill country. Allen looked at me and said, “So, you want to do a project together?”

I’m always eager to learn, and most of the time to try something new. I didn’t have to think to hard to get my answer, “Yes.”

“So what do you want to do?”

I thought about it and replied, “I don’t know—maybe something big. A big flipper…”

“OK. Draw something up and send it to me, and I will tweak it and send it back.”

We went back and forth a few times and basically ended up with Allen’s blade in my handle. We decide to make it a midtech, that is, a semi-custom project in which we have some of the parts CNC machined out for us—mainly the handle frames and the G-10 handle insets.

Some titanium framelock folders have problems with the titanium galling and sticking to the lock face, making them hard to unlock. To try to prevent the sticky lock, we designed stainless steel lock faces to be inserted into the titanium lock bar. This left us with the lightweight springiness of titanium and the clean release of heat-treated stainless steel where it counted. The reverse side of the knife has an inter-frame G-10 insert that has both of our logos standing out in a positive relief. The G-10 is slightly domed, and with the logos, it provides a non-slip gripping point.

The blade is 4 inches long, with the whole knife being 9 inches. Most people would call it a pretty big knife, even though, to me, it’s only a medium size. I learned a lot about coordination on this project. Working with CNC shops, water-jet cutters, heat-treaters, and another highly opinionated knifemaker, added another degree of difficulty on top of all the actual labor we put into these knives.

It was labor that ended up being more than I thought. Whomever told me that CNC is cheating knows something that I don’t. We still had a lot of hand-work to do.

Once we had all of our parts in hand, Allen ground the blades and I prepared the handles, hardware and scales ready to fit. I drove my parts to his shop and we spent a couple days fitting knives together. Then we spent almost as much time going through them all and making sure they where as they should. You don’t notice what effort flipping a folder open is until you do it 4,000 times in a single day. The price for the knife was set at $575.

I enjoy working with other makers on projects. Knifemaking is often such a solitary endeavor. As long as no one takes things too seriously and everyone communicates as best they can, it usually works out well, giving everyone a chance to try something new and maybe learn something. I am already looking forward to my next collaboration! I can be contacted via email at: les@georgeknives.com

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