Shelton Knife

Mar 20, 1999
I just picked up another bargain knife and thought I’d pass another mini-review along to you. The knife is from Avery Shelton in Salem, Virginia. In recent e-mail with the maker, he confided that he is rather new to making knives. He has made knives from old files, but recently purchased a lot of his equipment, stock, and blanks from a knife maker who was retiring. This is first knife made from the supplies he aquired from the retiree. He is unsure what the steel is. Questions about tempering, heat treating, and Rockwell hardness were left unanswered.

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Blade: 6 ¼” High carbon steel (full tang construction) ¼” stock
Handle material: Walnut
Overall length: 11 ½”
Sheath: Brown leather pouch type

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Blade: This is yet another knife that wasn’t very sharp upon arrival. I guess it’s a good thing I can sharpen knives well. The knife was purchase used but in excellent condition from the maker. Typical of a carbon blade, it took a fantastic edge. The original finish on the knife must have been close to a high polish. There are a few blemishes now on the blade as well as some nominal wear, but nothing that I wouldn’t expect to see in carbon steel. There is a ¼” overhang past the end of the handle. The maker says it’s for “Breaking windows or a crushing blow to the head.” If you take another 1/8 inch or so off the scales, this would be a great place to put a lanyard hole.

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Handle: Overall fit and finish are not impressive. Walnut can be a pretty material, but in this case they remind me of the Old Hickory line of knives. If there is a finish on the wood, it’s an oil stain at best. 2 brass pins secure the scales to the blade. The pins can be felt sticking up slightly above the Walnut scales. There is a very basic “kitchen knife” feel to this model. I would prefer something with more contour to it. If I decide to keep this knife or give it away to one of the family, I will be sending it off to someone (any volunteers?) for a new handle.

Sheath: Thick, sturdy, primitive. An attractive light brown finish covers all areas of the sheath. The finish is a little uneven in areas and a very small patch by where the loop is stitched is devoid of any dye. The black stitching is uneven, but matches well with the primitive look and simplistic lines of the sheath. The only area of concern on the sheath is the stitching on the belt loop. In my opinion, the area stitched down is too small and may break prematurely. Surprisingly, the sheath seems to compliment the knife and this is one time I don’t think I would want Kydex or a more attractively made sheath.

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Usage: No animals were harmed during the testing of this knife and that bothers me. To me, nothing fully tests a knife like cutting, skinning, and gutting fresh game. The knife did get to spend a little quality time with me in my office and in the kitchen. I cut paper, cardboard, thin plastic, tape, meat, and veggies. I don’t know exactly where the knife stopped shaving hair as I forgot to stop and test it periodically, but it cut everything I threw at it and was easy to bring the edge back with my ceramic stick sharpener.

The maker says that he typically asks $140.00 for this type knife. I don’t see it. I can’t justify that kind of money for a knife as simply made as this one. Just my opinion, but $90.00 would be closer to reality for me.

A fighting-knife fanatic friend of mine took a quick liking to this model. This suprised me as he hates everything. (Kind of like the "Mikey" of the knife world.) His first words were, "Wow, you could really pop someone in the skull with the end of this thing."

Although there are some definite "problems" with this knife, I like it. I really like it. I can't explain the feeling I get when I handle it and look at it. Kind of like loving an ugly child I guess. (Not that I have any!)

[This message has been edited by the4th (edited 01-23-2000).]