All our knives are made by hand, one-at-a-time. All the parts are made by us, here. No two are ever completely alike.
At DS&S we only use the finest steels available. Others can use junk like 1095, other 10XX series carbon steels, or 420 / 440 stainless and similar clones. We use the rarest steels, with the most rigorous testing and treatments designed to maximize performance in the field.
Our current aerospace steels:
We start with a steel slab. It goes to waterjet to cut it. When the blank returns, we grind it, engrave it, heat-treat it, polish it. Maybe we coat in-houise or maybe we send it out for coating, or maybe it doesn't get coated.
Then we build the handle and the sheath, assemble everything and ship it. Sounds easy - but it isn't.
The process is as follows.... We order the steel piece for your knife (can take a couple weeks for steel to arrive); we get the raw steel cut at waterjet into the blank for your knife (can take a couple weeks for waterjet to do this); we grind the rough profile for your knife; we polish the rough profile and prep it for firing; we fire the forge to 2100f and heat your knife up until it glows, then quench in oil and eventually liquid nitrogen; we temper the blade, giving it the springiness and toughness; we re-polish the blade, which is now finished (this process of grinding, heat-treating, polishing, can take a month or so); we build the handle and fit it to the knife; we build the sheath and fit it to your handle / knife combo (this can take a couple weeks); we prep for additional treatments (ie. nano-process, and / or coating); we ship your blade to the appropriate coating facility (it can take them about a month); we receive the coated blade back from the out-of-state facility, and re-mount it to the handle; we re-expose the sharpened edge of the finished knife; we coat the blade in SEAL-1; we ship the finished knife.
Our forge is outside.
Rain is the enemy of a hot forge - and wind is the enemy of hot steel, as we need to reduce oxygen to the blade.
A windy day = no firing.
A rainy day / heavy clouds = no firing.
For those interested, our knives feature a zero-grind style at between 7.5 and 11 degrees. We do each of these completely by-hand and by-eyeball. There are no jigs at work here. Our grinder
features a ten-inch wheel with a variable speed controller - and we run it at high pressures with a 70 duro contact wheel and 2 inch x 72-inch blaze ceramic belts.
We do not, however, weigh our knives. If you are worried about how much they weigh, you must be preparing to take them into space. Hope you have a good trip.
Our steels have been LaTrobe Dura Tech 20CV, ELMAX, M390, CTS-204P, Z-FINIT Nitrogen Steel, CPM-20CV and a couple in N690 and Cowry X. We are always experimenting - and always looking for new materials and treatments.
Our coatings are also specialized stuff: We use Black-T and Black Diamond DLC. Our blades are sent out to those two companies to accomplish that work, depending on the requirements of the project.
We do all our own firing and cryo work. Everything by-hand and by-heart.
FOR KNIFE BUILDS...
(yep. We are that busy)
Troops come first.