BY NICK PEARCE
The beauty of this country is that every now and again you get to stumble across a master craftsman at work. Some people can train for years and never be at the top of their trade. Others are just born with it. When you see the work of knife maker Joe Smalley you know you are handling elite knives, the kind that in centuries gone by knights would have been queuing around the block for. Spend hundreds on a knife that you can be certain will be worth so much more in years to come.
From everyday carry pocketknives to heavy bushcraft knives, Joe’s small company, JSKnives in Manchester houses a myriad of handmade knives for all kinds of purposes – hunting, camping, slicing, butchering, and daily working. Each knife has been designed and crafted by Joe who understands how important the smallest of details in how a knife is made can affect the comfort or performance of a knife. All blade designs in the JSKnives Range have been rigorously field tested and professionally heat treated.
I get to hold a friend’s one-off commission build. My friend is large, and this Bulldog has been made to fit snugly in his hand, designed and made as an eye-catching everyday carry pocketknife from 5mm 1095 carbon steel with a 5-inch cutting edge, sporting a 5 inch micarta handle finished with stainless pins and lanyard tube.
Another beauty is Joe’s Ridgeback – this comes with a kydex sheath including a kydex belt loop. It’s an all-round and versatile tool. It’s been crafted in AEB-L Stainless Steel (chosen for its high sharpness, edge stability, wear, and corrosion resistance). Other steel options were San Mai or O1 Tool Steel. This knife looks like it will last for centuries.
Established by Joe in 2012, JSKnives has grown over recent years perfecting and innovating the specialist custom made knives you will see on offer today. Every JSK knife is made with passion and skill that has been developed over many hours in the field and workshop. Joe prides himself on creating custom knives that are hand built to last; knives to be used and serve their owners well.
Each knife is handmade from design to build, from the professional heat treatment that all JSKnives receive, to the sharpening and polishing that goes into each knife.
If you can’t get to see Joe’s knives at the Northern Shooting Show between the 7th and 8th of May this year, held at the Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate – you’ll find Joe in Cutlers’ Corner – then feast your eyes on some of the images of Joe’s creations below:
JS Knives can be visited at www.jsknives.co.uk