5160 Clip Point Fixed Blade from Steve Isbell

May 22, 1999
<center>Steve Isbell


Around the 18th of last month I was chatting with Yekim on ICQ. We got to talking about knives, what else? And I asked him what would be a good knife for a survival kit. I told him I gave my dad a CS Tanto San Mai when they first came out and that was the only fixed blade he was considering for his kit. I intended the CS to be entirely for display but my dad thought it was suitable for survival. I told Yekim I was going to get my dad a CS SRK or a Spec Plus Fighting Knife instead. Yekim then told me that he knew where to get a custom knife for around $100.00. Needless to say my interest was up and I asked for details. He gave me some details but insisted I talk directly to Steve and gave me his phone number.

Talking to Steve was a pleasure. He was patient and helped me understand which steel is best for my purpose. I told him what type of knife I wanted and for what purpose and he made some suggestions. The specs were finalized and the knife was ordered. I received the knife yesterday and I felt like a little kid on Christmas day. This was my first custom knife. Well my dad’s first custom knife. (My dad is smarter then he seems. He got me to buy him another knife.)

The fixed blade knife is made out of satin finished 3/16” 5160 with a full tang. The blade is a clip point with a flat grind. The blade is 6” long. The scales are cocobolo and the handle is 4 3/4”. That makes the OAL 10 3/4”.

When I was working out the specs with Steve I admit the idea of a clip point knife with a flat grind was unique. And looking at it now it is different but handsome. The satin finish is well executed. There are some scratches. It does not take away from the purpose of the knife. And I attribute it to the USPS. The box was opened before I received it. I talked to Steve and he said it was completely sealed when it was sent. My only guess is the USPS inspected my package and scratched the blade in the process.

The first thing I looked was not the blade but the scales. The fit and finish is great. I looked for gaps where the scales fit on the tang and there are none. When Steve told me what handle materials were available I settled on cocobolo because I was familiar with it. I have some on my 1911. On the knife though they are absolutely gorgeous. With no checkering but a contoured and smooth finish the grain shows beautifully. Man! Now I wish I didn’t tell my dad to expect a custom knife
The handle fits my hand perfectly and the balance of the knife is perfect.

The knife came with a kydex sheath. Steve had leather sheaths available but it would have taken extra time. I should have taken the extra time as my dad and I don’t like kydex. I am leaving for Juneau on the 8th to visit my parents and I wanted the knife as soon as possible. The kydex sheath is well executed though. It holds the knife firmly while still having an easy draw. Putting the knife back in is a little harder though.

As this is a gift knife I cannot go out and field test it. If my father uses it immediately I will report back. I am thoroughly satisfied with the knife and plan to order one for myself. When I showed it to Yekim he decided to get one himself to his specs from Steve. I want a fixed blade rescue style knife for myself. The price at $100 makes this knife a bargain. My only problem with the knife is it is not marked. There is nothing to identify who made it and what the steel is.

But the time from order to delivery was only 16-18 days. Steve Isbell is a pleasure to do business with and he makes an excellent product. I highly recommend him. He can be reached at <A HREF="mailto:Steve_Isbell<knife_boy@msn.com>">Steve_Isbell<knife_boy@msn.com></A>

David Williams

"A knifeless man is a lifeless man"
-Nordic proverb

[This message has been edited by David Williams (edited 05 October 1999).]

Thanks for sharing the bargain. It's a great looking knife and seems like a very utilitarian design. What heat treat process does Steve apply to the 5160 blade?
David Thanks let me know when you want that Rescue knife ! I should be getting an etcher soon so I can mark my knives.

Thanks Dave and you too Yek.

Jeff Iam sorry I meant to do this before .
Start off by getting the blade to color then let the color fade then back in the forge up to nonmagnetic then quench it in oil (temp. 120-140) then temper in my wifes oven . I use a friends shop and have been making part-time for a few yrs still new at the heat treating I used to have my friend do it but have been doing most of the carbon steel blades I make . Thanks for asking Jeff
I love that knife. Very handsome and very close to my fave designs in that kind of knife. Steve, how hard do you take the 5160?

Thanks Joe -
I try for a Rc. of 58-59 and that one came out just the way I wanted it to . Thanks again

Hey Steve, that is a great looking knife. And what a bargain. I bet you are getting enough orders to choke a horse. About how long will it take to get one of those bad boys after it is orderd. Great looking knife Steve.
Chris, Top of Texas Knives

I made that one for David he was in need of it quick . I would say 2-3 months I only get to work on them on my days off which is one day a week . If you want me to make you one Chris let me know and I will have it to you by January .

Thanks S45.