Charlie Bell knives

aji1

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Dec 19, 2016
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207
As promised, here are a few more photos of my C. Bell sowbelly. They aren't great pictures (as usual), but I hope they show some of the details a little more clearly. The first gives a better idea (perhaps!) of how the paper micarta handles look. As Railsplitter Railsplitter mentioned, they are really smooth and clean. At a glance, they would pass for buffalo horn. The second shows the spine; everything is so nice and tight. The third is supposed to show the perfect centering of the blade. I guess I took it at a bit of an angle, because it looks slightly off in the photo, but not, at least to my eye, in hand.

I really love this knife! It's just a well implemented, and constructed, take on the pattern. I like it so much, in fact, that I have already ordered another one from Mr. Bell (I got an e-mail today confirming the details, as he is going to start the build). This new one has a bit of story to it. When I receive it, I will post some pictures and tell you all the background.

Thanks so much to Railsplitter and and Chief Chief for steering me towards Charlie!

sowbelly_half-stop_small.jpeg

sowbelly_spine small.jpeg

sowbelly_center small.jpeg
 

Railsplitter

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Oct 31, 2010
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6,455
Thanks for the review. It's easy to see why you are so happy with that knife.

I'm looking very forward to seeing your new one and hearing the story behind it.
 

aji1

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Joined
Dec 19, 2016
Messages
207
It seems like wharncliffe swaybacks are all the rage at the moment, what with the 2020 forum knives and the upcoming GEC #47. Well, here is one from Charlie Bell that is very different from those two!

As I mentioned, there is a little story to go with this one. I contacted a pretty well-known maker, who delivered a knife to me earlier this year, and who has sold a bunch of "lightweight" knives with G10 liners. I asked him if he could do one with micarta over G10 and we arranged the entire knife. At which point he told me that he was no longer willing to ship overseas. His business, his choice, and all, but I was kind of irritated as I had recently purchased from him and was not an "unknown quantity" (and was also willing to pay up front).

I stewed for a day or two, and then I thought, "Hey! Why not ask Charlie?" As usual, he was pleasant and friendly to deal with, and he was happy to make a micarta knife with G10 liners.

I received this a couple of days ago. Vintage black paper over ruby red G10. Nice flush spring, no gaps, and all transitions smooth as silk. Perfectly centered. Great action. He used a 303 bushing with a 416 pin, so there is a subtle birds-eye effect. It weighs in at an astonishing 38 or 39 grams. In a word, it is fantastic. Really quick, too, at just over a month to make, ship to Europe and clear customs.

swayback_open.jpeg


swayback_well.jpeg

swayback_center.jpeg
 

joeradza

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Joined
Feb 6, 2014
Messages
8,076
It seems like wharncliffe swaybacks are all the rage at the moment, what with the 2020 forum knives and the upcoming GEC #47. Well, here is one from Charlie Bell that is very different from those two!

As I mentioned, there is a little story to go with this one. I contacted a pretty well-known maker, who delivered a knife to me earlier this year, and who has sold a bunch of "lightweight" knives with G10 liners. I asked him if he could do one with micarta over G10 and we arranged the entire knife. At which point he told me that he was no longer willing to ship overseas. His business, his choice, and all, but I was kind of irritated as I had recently purchased from him and was not an "unknown quantity" (and was also willing to pay up front).

I stewed for a day or two, and then I thought, "Hey! Why not ask Charlie?" As usual, he was pleasant and friendly to deal with, and he was happy to make a micarta knife with G10 liners.

I received this a couple of days ago. Vintage black paper over ruby red G10. Nice flush spring, no gaps, and all transitions smooth as silk. Perfectly centered. Great action. He used a 303 bushing with a 416 pin, so there is a subtle birds-eye effect. It weighs in at an astonishing 38 or 39 grams. In a word, it is fantastic. Really quick, too, at just over a month to make, ship to Europe and clear customs.

View attachment 1459379


View attachment 1459381

View attachment 1459385
Looks like you came out smelling like roses. Another beauty from Mr. Bell
 

Railsplitter

Gold Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
6,455
It seems like wharncliffe swaybacks are all the rage at the moment, what with the 2020 forum knives and the upcoming GEC #47. Well, here is one from Charlie Bell that is very different from those two!

As I mentioned, there is a little story to go with this one. I contacted a pretty well-known maker, who delivered a knife to me earlier this year, and who has sold a bunch of "lightweight" knives with G10 liners. I asked him if he could do one with micarta over G10 and we arranged the entire knife. At which point he told me that he was no longer willing to ship overseas. His business, his choice, and all, but I was kind of irritated as I had recently purchased from him and was not an "unknown quantity" (and was also willing to pay up front).

I stewed for a day or two, and then I thought, "Hey! Why not ask Charlie?" As usual, he was pleasant and friendly to deal with, and he was happy to make a micarta knife with G10 liners.

I received this a couple of days ago. Vintage black paper over ruby red G10. Nice flush spring, no gaps, and all transitions smooth as silk. Perfectly centered. Great action. He used a 303 bushing with a 416 pin, so there is a subtle birds-eye effect. It weighs in at an astonishing 38 or 39 grams. In a word, it is fantastic. Really quick, too, at just over a month to make, ship to Europe and clear customs.

View attachment 1459379


View attachment 1459381

View attachment 1459385
Great looking knife! You and Charlie both did good!
 

aji1

Gold Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2016
Messages
207
Looks like you came out smelling like roses. Another beauty from Mr. Bell

Great looking knife! You and Charlie both did good!

Thanks, Alan and Rick. It's an excellent knife. Now that I have had it for a few days (and gotten used to the really light weight), it has become an almost instant favorite.

In the end, I am glad the other maker backed out (and no shade cast his way, incidentally; I love the knife he made me and it is his business to run as he sees fit). Charlie just nailed it. Additionally, he had micarta I like better, was really quick, and it was considerably less expensive. The custom market is kind of difficult to navigate, but I will have zero hesitation going with Charlie again. In fact, I have already discussed the next one with him (it will be super special), but I want to wait until I see what sort of Yuletide hit my wallet takes before I formally place the order!
 

aji1

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Joined
Dec 19, 2016
Messages
207
I just got this Charlie sowbelly, in cross-cut micarta, from the exchange. He says it is orange, but it looks more red to me. Awesome texture to the micarta. Virtually perfect fit and finish and a great size (for me, anyway). It's an excellent knife. I am smitten by sowbellies of late.

I have another en route that looks absolutely incredible in the pictures. Hopefully, I will get it in a few days.

marty_sowbelly1.jpg
 

Railsplitter

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Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
6,455
I just got this Charlie sowbelly, in cross-cut micarta, from the exchange. He says it is orange, but it looks more red to me. Awesome texture to the micarta. Virtually perfect fit and finish and a great size (for me, anyway). It's an excellent knife. I am smitten by sowbellies of late.

I have another en route that looks absolutely incredible in the pictures. Hopefully, I will get it in a few days.

View attachment 1494806
Oh my! That is a beauty!
 

aji1

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Joined
Dec 19, 2016
Messages
207
This just in from Charlie! He did a beautiful job on the hafting, with the surface of the stag extending from side to side and end to bolster with barely any sanded away. I love the sunken tang and integral bolsters and the action is really, really smooth. A perfect, pinchable pull and a flush spring at all three positions. I have become a huge sowbelly fan; it's just a great pattern that feels awesome in hand.

This one got stuck in a USPS blackhole for so long that both Charlie and I thought it was lost. In fact, he had already started the insurance process when it miraculously popped up in Dutch tracking. As a result of this, I had already dreamed up a new knife, which I imagined would be paid for in part by the insurance, and he got started on building it. The "replacement" has some extra features and differences, so I am going to get that one, too. I think I may have a problem...

It was headed toward dusk, and overcast to boot, so not a great photo, but here it is in the park between the pick-up point and my house:

stag_lamp2 small.jpeg

And here is Charlie's photo of the pile side, which also shows the sunken tang:

closed_pile_small.jpeg
 

Un-Chained

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Feb 4, 2021
Messages
1,189
This just in from Charlie! He did a beautiful job on the hafting, with the surface of the stag extending from side to side and end to bolster with barely any sanded away. I love the sunken tang and integral bolsters and the action is really, really smooth. A perfect, pinchable pull and a flush spring at all three positions. I have become a huge sowbelly fan; it's just a great pattern that feels awesome in hand.

This one got stuck in a USPS blackhole for so long that both Charlie and I thought it was lost. In fact, he had already started the insurance process when it miraculously popped up in Dutch tracking. As a result of this, I had already dreamed up a new knife, which I imagined would be paid for in part by the insurance, and he got started on building it. The "replacement" has some extra features and differences, so I am going to get that one, too. I think I may have a problem...

It was headed toward dusk, and overcast to boot, so not a great photo, but here it is in the park between the pick-up point and my house:
And here is Charlie's photo of the pile side, which also shows the sunken tang:

Beautiful knife !!
Enjoy the “problem” lol
 

Un-Chained

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Feb 4, 2021
Messages
1,189
Chief Chief
Thank you for this thread start!
Awesome knives and pictures of wonderful experiences John.
A real pleasure reading through these pages.

Gus
 

mcc850

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Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
577
This just in from Charlie! He did a beautiful job on the hafting, with the surface of the stag extending from side to side and end to bolster with barely any sanded away. I love the sunken tang and integral bolsters and the action is really, really smooth. A perfect, pinchable pull and a flush spring at all three positions. I have become a huge sowbelly fan; it's just a great pattern that feels awesome in hand.

This one got stuck in a USPS blackhole for so long that both Charlie and I thought it was lost. In fact, he had already started the insurance process when it miraculously popped up in Dutch tracking. As a result of this, I had already dreamed up a new knife, which I imagined would be paid for in part by the insurance, and he got started on building it. The "replacement" has some extra features and differences, so I am going to get that one, too. I think I may have a problem...

It was headed toward dusk, and overcast to boot, so not a great photo, but here it is in the park between the pick-up point and my house:

View attachment 1512251

And here is Charlie's photo of the pile side, which also shows the sunken tang:

View attachment 1512252
Wow that is awesome! Congrats on the new knife! Looking forward to pics of the other new one haha
 

Railsplitter

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Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
6,455
This just in from Charlie! He did a beautiful job on the hafting, with the surface of the stag extending from side to side and end to bolster with barely any sanded away. I love the sunken tang and integral bolsters and the action is really, really smooth. A perfect, pinchable pull and a flush spring at all three positions. I have become a huge sowbelly fan; it's just a great pattern that feels awesome in hand.

This one got stuck in a USPS blackhole for so long that both Charlie and I thought it was lost. In fact, he had already started the insurance process when it miraculously popped up in Dutch tracking. As a result of this, I had already dreamed up a new knife, which I imagined would be paid for in part by the insurance, and he got started on building it. The "replacement" has some extra features and differences, so I am going to get that one, too. I think I may have a problem...

It was headed toward dusk, and overcast to boot, so not a great photo, but here it is in the park between the pick-up point and my house:

View attachment 1512251

And here is Charlie's photo of the pile side, which also shows the sunken tang:

View attachment 1512252
NICE! That is one fat clip blade for a Sowbelly pattern. A stunning knife to say the least. Congratulations!
 

aji1

Gold Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2016
Messages
207
I'm pretty sure you are all bored by now of my burgeoning little collection of Charlie Bell sowbellies, but this one just arrived today and I had to share it with someone!

This one has two blades, Indonesian Sambar stag handles, sunken tangs, integral fluted bolsters, and CPM154 blades. Charlie did a great job matching the stag. Really smooth pulls (around 5) on both blades. A little detail that I like is that the spines of the two blades are perfectly lined up until the clipped portion of the clip blade; it is hard to get a picture of this, but you can kind of see it in the last shot. I hope to get a few better pictures of the stag before Stag Saturday!

mark_open_small.jpeg mark_closed_small.jpeg pile_closed_small.jpeg spine copy.jpeg
 

Railsplitter

Gold Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
6,455
I'm pretty sure you are all bored by now of my burgeoning little collection of Charlie Bell sowbellies, but this one just arrived today and I had to share it with someone!

This one has two blades, Indonesian Sambar stag handles, sunken tangs, integral fluted bolsters, and CPM154 blades. Charlie did a great job matching the stag. Really smooth pulls (around 5) on both blades. A little detail that I like is that the spines of the two blades are perfectly lined up until the clipped portion of the clip blade; it is hard to get a picture of this, but you can kind of see it in the last shot. I hope to get a few better pictures of the stag before Stag Saturday!

View attachment 1558397 View attachment 1558398 View attachment 1558399 View attachment 1558400
My goodness! Beautiful knife and the Stag is so well matched! Nice fat blades too. You would have to live another 100 years to wear those out.

Congratulations on another great Bell custom!
 
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