New Model Introduction (Heron)

C.Kelly Custom Knives

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
May 16, 2018
Part 1....

Hi all,

I'm excited to finally be able to introduce the first official version of my latest fixed blade model I call the "Heron".

This knife was designed to be a fixed blade EDC that it especially well suited for fishermen or those who live, work or like to play in or around water. Here are some of the design intentions and goals..
1. Compact enough to carry daily.
2. Large and tough enough to handle whatever daily cutting tasks should arise.
3. Acute piercing point of safe a effective dispatching of ocean fish, as well as easy piercing of fish bellies for cleaning of all types of fish.
4. Highly corrosion resistant blade and 100% water stable handle materials. Completely "water friendly".
5. Easy to use for all daily cutting chores, including preparing and eating food and/or bait.
6. The overall design aesthetic should be advanced but familiar. (M.A.Y.A. if you know, you know ;))

The Blade:

This first edition (H-001) is LC200N (Z-Finit) that I heat treated, cryo'd and tempered to a final hardness of HRC 60.9 (averaged over 3 readings). I've been working for a long time on perfecting my LC200N heat treat recipe and protocol and this is the best hardness result I've achieved so far.

The Handle:

The bolster is nickel silver with nickel silver pins.
The body of the handle is white G10 with green/blue/green G10 liners.
The corbys are copper.
The lanyard tube is nickel silver.
The engraving badges are also nickel silver.

The Sheath(s):

Leather - The standard sheath for this knife is a leather belt sheath. The leather is wet molded to the knife first. After the leather is formed and allowed to dry it is completely and thoroughly saturated in a hot oil to soften the leather, add longevity and provide protection against the elements. After assembly and stitching with waxed "tiger thread", the sheath receives an additional surface treatment for water protection and then a final beeswax coating to boost protection and add to the surface durability.

Holstex / Neoprene - The client that would be receiving this knife runs a fishing boat in Florida, spends time in the Bahamas and generally lives his life on or around the ocean. He requested that he be able to take this knife diving as well as use it while exploring island shallows and marshes on foot. While the knife itself was NOT designed to be a dive knife I did my best to create an optional carry system for him that would keep the knife safe in the ocean, keep him from stabbing himself in the leg while trying to re-sheath it in dark water, and be comfortable to wear while either diving and/or walking. I actually found this design task more difficult than the knife itself.

The Name: The Heron spends it's day hunting fish in the marshy shallows. It depends on it's fishing/hunting skills to survive. It is a master of stalking and silently waiting to stab a fish with it's spear-like beak. It is a true fishing professional of the natural world.

Here she is..:D












Here is the final Heron next to the prototype.

The leather sheath..
Kydex/Holstex is the right choice many times and certainly has a lot of positive attributes as a sheath and holster material, but I still like leather sheaths. This one is simple, durable, and practical. It's intended to be used daily as a working tool / tool holder.

The Holstex / Neoprene sheath and dive rig...
This was a long project! The idea started out as simple as, "I'll send you a kydex sheath with holes in the sides to accommodate leg straps so you can dive with it".:rolleyes:

Then, the more I thought about it..the more I thought that idea really sucked :poop:. Keeping it easily accessible yet secure, keeping his leg safe, making it comfortable, all sorts of realities were saying strapping kydex to your leg with a freakin' rubber-band 'aint gunna work o_O. So, I spent a couple weeks burning through time and materials trying to solve these problems in a way that I could be satisfied with.

Continued in part 2....

C.Kelly Custom Knives

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
May 16, 2018
Part 2...

After I worked out a design that I liked and made one, I brought it out to "Pirates Cove at Point Dume" in Malibu, California for a little wave-testing to make sure everything would hold tight in the waves and current. This also gave me an opportunity to test the comfort while walking in and out of the water and along the beach.
(Disclaimer :)...It was only 60 degrees out that day and the water was 57...and no, this is not about shrinkage ;), I didn't think I would need to go deeper than knee-deep to do the tests I needed to do and I was cold so I made the stupid decision to leave my shirt on :p...bad call..:p ' cause when the wave hits you from behind and crashes over your head your shirt is now soaked you moron!! (That's me..talking to me o_O))

I spent about 20 minutes in the waves and the rig never budged one bit. The knife never moved. I was able to take it out and put it back in a few times while in the surf without any problems (except that I had to touch up the hand rubbed finish after doing that in sandy surf :rolleyes:). I walked around on the beach and found that within just a few minutes I could easily forget it was there. It was surprisingly comfortable. A pleasant surprise indeed:).

The rig is made mostly from nylon webbing and neoprene. It uses hook and loop (velcro) on the leg straps for a secure and adjustable fit. It is lined with neoprene for comfort. It has a neoprene knife "pocket" to hold the removable Holstex sheath. The Holstex sheath is secured to the rig via a Titanium anchor point at the base of the rig. The metal leg strap "loops" are also 6/4 Titanium. The grommet that the anchor line runs through has a GID collar and G10 backing-plate for durability.













The whole enchilada..

If you actually read this far...THANK YOU for checking out my new baby! :D:D:D


Chad Kelly
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Platinum Member
Aug 23, 2008
Very nice Chad. There is a lot to like about the design. All the handle details are well executed. I appreciate that the handle angle looks like it provides adequate finger clearance to use with a cutting board. That helps take full advantage of the water friendly LC200N steel and handle materials. I am more of a leather sheath guy these days, but I appreciate all the R&D that went into the the dive rig.

Are you going to make these for sale or was this just a fun project for yourself? You must be close to me because I am only 30 minutes from Point Dume.

Thanks again for posting the photos and thought process that went to the project.


C.Kelly Custom Knives

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
May 16, 2018
Are you going to make these for sale or was this just a fun project for yourself? You must be close to me because I am only 30 minutes from Point Dume.

Thanks again for posting the photos and thought process that went to the project.


Thank you Phil.

This is going to be an on-going model that I will offer. It's been a many-months long process to work out the design details and parameters, which included making templates and guides to allow me to repeat it accurately in the future. I will likely make only 3-4 each year for the next few years. Currently, I have 2 in Vanax that I've finished heat treating but don't exactly know when I'll get a chance to finish those yet, and I will be keeping one of them for myself :cool:. They will come standard with a leather sheath and a simple holstex sheath, but now I also have the ability to offer the dive/adventure rig as an option if someone "needs" it :).

:confused:I might live really close to you, or I might live as much as an hour away because it takes me about 30 minutes to get to Point Dume too. If you live close to me, I should say..Sorry about all the noise coming from my garage :D

Thank you for your questions :)


Basic Member
Jan 11, 2019
Cool design and nice fitting on the handle. I really like the diving rig, this is also on my list because I own a diving knife to a very good friend.


Gold Member
Mar 9, 2013
Beautiful blade and excellent design on that leg sheath.... Very cool... Nice work.
Apr 14, 2021
Thats class Chad! The blade shape is great. The whole knife is a great blend of utility and craftsmenship! Great work!:thumbsup::thumbsup: