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Keeton Custom Knives - Laconia, Indiana
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About Keeton Knives

Every Keeton knife is made to be a working knife, made to be used and handed down for generations.

Bill Keeton - Custom Knifemaker

It comes down to quality.

There are several variables in the price equation, but quality is not one of them. Quality is standard on every Keeton knife.

All of my blades are made by hand using the stock removal method. Most of my knives are made from the one of the types of steel listed below. These are the best types steels available today:

  • ATS-34
  • BG-42
  • 440-C
  • 440-V
  • D-2
  • 154CM
  • CPM-154
  • CPM M4 (GFS)

Each of these steels will take and hold an extremely keen edge.

Step 1: Form the Blade

Proper heat treating is the "soul" of a blade. Starting with a flat piece of tool steel, I cut the pattern, shape the three-dimensional contour of the blade, heat-treat the metal in a special kiln to a temperature of nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and sub-zero quench it in liquid nitrogen to a Rockwell hardness of 59-62 Rc, depending on the steel used. Factory-made knives, on the other hand, tend to keep the hardness on the low side because the metal is much easier to work.

Step 2: Shape the Scales or Handle:

The scales or handles are shaped from:

  • Raw hunks of India Sambar stag
  • Ivory (the legal stuff)
  • Bone
  • Antler
  • Micarta, and
  • Several kinds of wood including stabilized wood and Desert Ironwood (a wood so dense that it won't float in water).
  • G-10 Fiberglass

Step 3: Sharpen and Polish the Blade

To create a beautiful, functional, one of a kind knife, the blade is sharpened to razor sharpness and polished in one of three finishes:

  • Satin
  • Mirror finish
  • Hand-rubbed

All of my blades are cryogenically treated, which enables the blade to perform better.

Step 4: Make a Custom Sheath

A sheath is then made for each of my creations, wet-forming the leather to each particular knife. The sheath is then stamped with the same unique serial number as its knife.


*This photo of Bill in his shop courtesy of Dale Moss of Louisville's Courier-Journal.


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